PLEASE HANDLE WITH CARE University of Connecticut Libraries V^ MC 'fee - BOOK 823.8-K3 12F c. 1 KEMBLE # FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO . ^V ' "• ^ 'w • VjHER ^H* *" > ^ J« ,<" * v >i Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013 http://archive.org/details/farawaylongagoOOkemb FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO BY FRANCES ANNE KEMBLE LONDON RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON iabUshers in ©rfcittarj) ta ^et Jftajtsts thz (Queen 1889 [All rights reserved] ~h\ ■A* TO MRS. RACKEMANN (ELIZABETH SEDGWICK) THIS STORY IS DEDICATED BY HER AFFECTIONATE FRIEND THE AUTHOR FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO +xx+ INTRODUCTION. My aunt, Miss Selbourne, had just died in her house in the village of Greenville, leaving me her executor, with the rather embarrass- ing task of looking over her papers, letters, and personal mementoes of people and events long passed away, which had occupied a good part of my time. The letters written by various members of the large family to which she belonged, and who were all in an uncommon degree remarkable for their mental gifts and moral excellence, were full 1 2 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO of the affectionate intercourse of close rela- tionship, and described with pleasant vivacity the not ungracefully quaint and primitive, stiff and simple, manners and daily life of more than ' sixty years since.' This episto- lary collection was voluminous, and I carried it home with me to my house on the road between Greenville and the small county town of Gordonton. Having finished look- ing over the letters, I found a packet of considerable bulk, carefully tied up and sealed, with the words ' Far Away and Long Agfo : A True Story,' in my aunt's handwriting upon it, to which was added in another hand, ' To be published after my death.' Not long after Miss Selbourne's death, a narrative was published purporting to be an account of events which transpired in Green- ville a great many years ago. No name was affixed to this publication, and a rumour got abroad that she was the author of it. My aunt's novels had obtained deserved FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 3 popularity and a wide circulation during her life ; her name was in itself a recom- mendation to the reader ; but none of the characteristics of her books were to be found in the one now apparently intended to derive its claim to public approbation from the idea that it was a work of hers. The MS. was not in her writing, and all her own MSS. were. Neither the subject nor its treatment was such as she would have chosen, and the style was entirely different from that of the charming books of which she was the acknowledged author. Her family took some pains to discover the author of this volume ; but not succeeding in doing so, determined, as the best method of contra- dicting the erroneous impression becoming more and more prevalent, to publish the manuscript found among her papers. The writer, whose desire for the publication of his work appeared to be endorsed by her, had evidently grounded a partly fictitious narrative upon real events which were still 1—2 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO remembered by some of the oldest Green- ville folk, and therefore, in spite of the title, must have occurred neither very far away nor long ago. CHAPTER I. Towards the northern boundary of the county of Berkshire, in the State of Massa- chusetts, is a lovely valley, locked in by mountains, crowned with forests, and watered by the playful windings of a clear, rapid stream. Few spots on earth can boast of a more perfect union of all the elements of natural beauty; there maybe scenes of grander sublimity, or richer and more fertile cultiva- tion, but not many where all the charms of rock and river, woody upland and sunny meadow, bold mountain outlines and sweet valley depths, meet in such harmonious and various combination. It is an enchanting region, and may well deserve to be re- 6 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO membered by the name given to it by a distinguished foreigner who once passed through it of the ' Happy Valley.' But manifold changes have come over that secluded region since the occurrence of the events here commemorated. Highways have been opened over the mountains, and railroads into the valleys, and the tide of the outward world now rolls freely through these once wild and beautiful solitudes. At the time of which I write, the house of Judge Selbourne, that of Mr. Edwards (in which, but few years before he possessed it, his grandfather, the celebrated Calvinistic divine and theologian, Jonathan Edwards, had lived and died), and half a dozen sub- stantial and comfortable frame residences, each in their own meadow and garden grounds, were in fact the core or kernel of the whole village. Round this some humbler cottages had gathered like a group of timid sheep, as though drawn towards each other more by fear of isolation than FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 7 any social love of proximity, where now the white houses with their green blinds amonof their graceful elms give to the traveller's eye one of the prettiest rural pictures in the whole picturesque county. On a little hill, clothed richly with the shining wild-laurel kalmia, stood the plain meeting-house where the inhabitants wor- shipped ; and on the side of a gentle rise, not a quarter of a mile from it, and so situated as to overlook the whole valley, stood the dwelling of its minister, the truly Reverend Mr. Edwards. Pursuing the main road that ran through the village, and gradually approaching the capricious wind- ings of the stream known as the Green Water, the traveller found himself out of sight of the clustering cottages of Green- ville, out of hearing of the smith's anvil, the carpenter's plane, the children's voices, and all the sounds of rural village industry and activity. Sloping apple orchards, gently climbing to 8 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO meet the forest skirts, that the hand of labour had gradually curtailed, till their shaggy fringes clothed only the higher summits, rose on one side of the road. On the other, a narrow strip of meadow sank rapidly from a pathway that crossed it, to a plank bridge over the river, whose flashing waters here became a deep and powerful dark-green current, as they wound round the base of a precipitous hill. This, rising to a height of many hundred feet, was thickly clothed with forest growth of chestnut, oak, and beech, amid whose ranks the woodcutter's axe had already made many an inroad, and from the midst of whose deep masses the slow-rising blue and silver smoke here and there betrayed the swarthy labours of the, charcoal-burners. At the foot of this mountain, on the opposite side from the village, was the entrance to a singularly wild ravine, which traversed its base like a huge rocky moat, and was known by the name of the Ice FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO Hole, because in the hottest days of summer snow and ice had been found in some of its least explored recesses, defying the influence of the hot atmosphere without, in its deep and dark storehouses of winter cold. At the foot of a sloping meadow, which led to the northern entrance of this defile, and nestled under the overhanging boughs of one of those beautiful elms that are the peculiar pride of this district, stood a solitary cottage, whose remoteness from the village seemed to indicate something in the mind of its inhabitant of that desire for solitude which springs from sorrow or misanthropy. More especially might this appear the case when the whole neighbourhood was one of such tranquil and retired peacefulness, and where the fullest tide of business, pleasure, and population is even now gathered into a focus, which to dwellers in cities, and the crowded haunts of men, would in itself seem a silence and a solitude. The whitewashed frame cottage stood, io FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO according to the fashion of selecting sites prevalent both then and now in New England, close to the road, which then, however, was rarely traversed by any but the pedestrian on his way to the distant village of Barlington, or the creaking ox- drawn cart of the men bringing down their loads of charcoal from the mountain-sides, and urging the slow progress of their beasts in a jargon of mixed Yankee and some foreign dialect, for they were almost all Swiss, who on the hillsides of Massachusetts were following the industry the knowledge and habit of which they had brought with them from their native land. The thriving manufacturing villages which now disturb the banks of the Green Water with their clattering wheels and sudden jets of black rolling smoke or white hissing steam had not begun the successful com- petition of paper, cotton, and cloth mills, whose long buildings and wooden outhouses now make glad the lovers of wealth, and FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO n sad the lovers of beauty. Nor, indeed, had the latter begun to explore, as they now do, the recesses of this mountain region, pry- ing into its rocky gorges for waterfalls, and climbing its hill-tops for views, and carrying back to the haunts of civilization reports of picturesque and savage beauty, by which each succeeding summer fresh pilgrims are tempted to the secret solemn shrines of Nature, there to worship and to wonder according to the measure of grace which has been given them. At the time I speak of, a slow ox-cart, laden with the iron ore of the mountains, and creaking towards the Gordonton furnace, or returning thence, with its freight wrought into rough ingots, or a load of charcoal escorted by its begrimed drivers, whose features proclaimed their foreign birthland even through the mask of smoke and coal which gave additional strangeness to them — these, and the occasional tramp of some grazier with a drove of cattle, or farmer s i2 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO wife or daughter mounted on a peculiarly precarious side-saddle, and ambling cautiously from one village to another, or the semi- annual return of a Boston pedlar with his various products of remote civilization, made up the sum of traffic then on the now much-frequented road between Greenville and Barlington. Sunday, indeed, converted it into a com- paratively populous thoroughfare, for the meeting-house of Greenville was the only one for several miles, and though that at Gordonton was scarcely further off, every step of the way was uphill, a toilsome, heavenward path which the worthy worshippers, who condemned an afternoon stroll in the meadows as impious, had no scruple in sparing themselves by means of every vehicle or animal, whose weekly labour pleaded in vain for the respite otherwise observed of the strictly sectarian Sabbath. Besides, Mr. Edwards was held in such affectionate respect through all the little FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 13 villages along the river, that Sunday brought their inhabitants from a circuit of several miles to attend his ministry, which the most devout and intelligent among them pro- nounced to be good alike for exhortation and reproof. In his own daily journeys round the neigh- bourhood in search of the sick and sinning, Mr. Edwards seldom failed to stop at the cottage we have mentioned, where he was ever an honoured guest. CHAPTER II. James Morrison, the builder, owner, and inhabitant of this humble dwelling, was an Englishman, a native of Lancashire. During the early part of his life, and far into his middle age, he had lived in a small house in a small street in Manchester, and laboriously supported his aged parents by his wages as a principal workman in one of the huge iron manufactories of that capital of all Vulcan's earthly domains, and chief temple of his worship. Nowhere, probably, in the world does the hard-featured countenance of toil and poverty wear a more repulsive aspect than in the manufacturing districts of the FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 15 wealthiest of civilized Christian countries. Manchester, with its gloomy, narrow laby- rinths of dismal alleys, whose ignoble dwellings would defy the very spirit of beauty to rescue them from their look of monotonous squalor, offers the very type of all that human habitations can exhibit of mean, dark, low hideousness. To the weather-stained thatched dwelling of the poorest country labourer, ivy, clematis, honeysuckle, roses, can give at least external grace and cheerfulness, and, clinging round it, suggest images of sweetness — shade and refreshment may be bestowed upon it by the proximity of fine trees, or the breezy, open space of a gorse and heather covered common lend to it an air of bright healthiness ; but who that ever looked down one of those black brick passages in a wealthy manu- facturing town, where the poorer workmen swarm with their families — either when the prevailing fogs of the English climate, mixed with the soot from a thousand smoky 16 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO chimneys, fills thern with choking, chilling darkness, or when the dull glare of the summer sun penetrates to the filthy pave- ment, dirty brick walls, and dusty gutters — found anything in its aspect but labour in its meanest form, poverty in its most un- mitigated ugliness, and an existence as squalid and barren in its outward features as hard and penurious in its daily conditions ? In these grim dwellings of cheerless toil it is not wonderful that the seeds of perennial discontent should spring most abundantly ; that here the natural aspirings of hope, the innate desire of happiness, the inextinguish- able striving towards progress, should all thirst for change ; change at any price, at any rate — change so dangerous because so vague a desire, yet the only desire of which such an existence after a while remains capable, as the first step, of emancipation from that which is intolerable — change without calculation of consequence, the mere shifting of the burthen, which, without FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 17 diminishing its weight, relieves, for a time, the weary way-plodder by effort applied in a new direction. In the midst of such influ- ences, James Morrison had passed the greater part of his life, with more than common intelligence, and a degree of general information which he had acquired by con- siderable reading, and the diligent and eager application of every spare moment of his limited leisure. The pressure of hardship upon himself, and the daily observation of its grinding action upon those less fortunate than himself, had gradually led him to the formation of the opinions most deprecated by those who always show the least readi- ness to remove their causes — Dissent in religion and democracy in politics. Prudent and discreet, with little desire or necessity for communication with others, Morrison had nursed these tendencies in silence, till they assumed the definite form of convictions ; and day after day bringing more and more strongly to his mind the fear 2 iS FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO that his favourite theories (however destined, as he firmly believed, eventually to conquer the world) would hardly develop themselves with much efficacy in England during his life, his desire of removing himself to a country where they were the acknowledged principles of government grew more intense, and his yearning after an existence of com- parative political freedom and social equality, even at the cost of entire separation from all his previous associations and habits, became the secret passion of his life. While every moment of his leisure was spent in reading works which strengthened the republican tendency of his ideas, every farthing of his wages that could be spared from the most closely economical living was carefully put aside, to accumulate and form the necessary fund for emigration to America. An attachment, tenacious and strong as all his feelings, which he had long enter- tained for the daughter of a Dissenting FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 19 minister, living in obscurity and poverty with an aged aunt, the intimate friend of his mother, added to his general theories applications of a more strictly personal nature. To marry in England, in his position, was to purchase at the cost of short-lived happi- ness distress and grinding care for the future. Love, which should lighten all burthens, according to the laws of God and nature, becomes the heaviest of all burthens under the civilized dispensations of man. Poverty scares the lonely labourer away from the vision of sympathy and fellowship ; or if affection and passion plead too strongly against the dictates of prudence, and the irrevocable engagement is taken, it bows to the earth his already heavily-laden hands, and fastens upon him a corroding care, such as mere toil for self-preservation, however unremitting or ill-requited, could never know. There is no poverty like that which has added to itself the poverty of a helpless wife, 2 — 2 20 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO the mother of helpless and degraded chil- dren. The woman to whom James Morrison was attached was no longer young, nor in any respect very attractive ; a spirit of order and economy like his own, a rigid sense of duty, and unflinching devotion to it, and a tendency to exaggeration, such as theological or political theories are apt to assume in the unpractical brains of women, towards Morrison's own favourite specula- tions, were her charms in his eyes. Per- haps, too, the feeling entertained by his parents, who had been devoted followers of her father's ministry, and still more by her old aunt, that Mary Shepherd was entitled to a better position in life than that of a mere working manufacturer's wife, gave ad- ditional value to her regard for him. Quiet and reserved to a degree of shyness, she had never exhibited any feeling of the sort, al- though in her secret soul she was not quite devoid of a certain sense of social superiority, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 21 which all her equalizing speculations and James Morrison's steadfast attachment and really uncommon abilities hardly overcame. The aristocratic feeling which is rooted in the heart of the people of England, and which, combined with the equally deeply- seated democratic tendency, and the perpetual action of both, form the twofold influence of stability and progress, whence springs the security of the country, was potent in the heart of Mistress Deborah Shepherd, Mary's old aunt ; and, in spite of her affection for Morrison's mother, and her rather dry ac- knowledgment of James's abilities and excel- lent character, forbade her niece ever hoping for her consent to her marriage with the Radical artisan ; and this, combined with the stern dictates of prudence, compelled them to form that sort of indefinite engagement — the shapeless, colourless hope, in which the loves and the expectations of the poor are so often constrained to take refuge. Hover- ing over their hard lot was the dimly-seen 22 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO star of distant aspiration, shedding upon the flinty path of life, during long years, the dew of patient and courageous devotion ; sometimes eclipsed by sudden calamity, scat- tering in a moment the result of prolonged industry and self-denial ; oftener wearing away, and fading more and more, and at length dying out in the cheerless atmosphere of protracted insuperable obstacles. The death of Mistress Deborah Shepherd having at length removed the impediment of an adverse authority, and, moreover, en- dowed her niece with a little fortune of three hundred pounds, she became Morrison's wife, and entered eagerly into all his schemes of future existence in the land of his dreams — his Atlantis — the United States. The increased comfort of their position, by means of Mrs. Morrison's small dower, enabled them to bear with patience the postpone- ment of their hope. At length, the death of his parents, to whom he had been an exemplary and devoted son, having given FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 23 Morrison that melancholy freedom which we purchase with our heaviest losses, he threw up his situation, left his dingy narrow brick- house in Turner's Lane, Manchester, and with five hundred pounds, his wife, and a beauti- ful little girl of three years old, set sail for America. CHAPTER III. It does not enter into my purpose to follow in detail the fortunes of the emigrants. How far the realitv answered to the ex- pectations of Morrison in the country of his adoption ; how nearly the machinery of democratic institutions approached in their actual working the lofty conceptions of his republican theories ; how much more the men resembled Brutus and Cato, Hampden, Milton, and Sidney, than the Englishmen with whom he had held daily converse in Manchester ; and the women, Cornelia, Portia, Madame Roland, or Rousseau's 6 natural ' heroines, than their wives and FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 25 daughters — into all this it is needless to inquire. There probably existed the same disparity between what he had imagined and what he found, as it is the lot of most of us to find in the realization of our hopes and ex- pectations. It is certain that he never expressed the slightest disappointment, that he never uttered a regret for having left England, or a desire to return to it. After becoming naturalized, which he did at the earliest pos- sible period, he exercised with regularity and conscientiousness his privileges of citizenship ; and though it might seem a little incon- sistent, perhaps, that he invariably voted with the least democratical political party, his deliberate devotion to republican institu- tions, and unmitigated distaste for, and dis- approbation of, all others, did not appear by any other token to have changed or diminished. Perhaps in the desire he had experi- 26 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO enced for what seemed to him just prin- ciples of government he had failed to remember the stamp of imperfection that inevitably brands all human things ; perhaps he had omitted to allow the large margin which must be left in the application of all theories for the weakness and wickedness of men s practice ; or, perhaps, in "n variably voting with the more conservative side in the perpetually recurring elections, which freshen the surface of American politics with a constant ripple of change, he was but following a wise instinct, which suggests that the counter-weight should always be thrown into that scale which does not con- tain the preponderating individual or national tendency ; not so much as impediment, as corrective : the element of opposition, in all things one of the great elements of health, that answers in the moral world to that which produces equipoise of powers in the material universe. Morrison, on his first arrival in America, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 27 gave, for some time, scope and utterance so long denied to that leaven of social and reli- gious antagonism which had been for years fermenting in his mind. Not only on his arrival in the United States had he drawn in, as it were, with one deep inspiration of unutterable relief and hope, the atmosphere of freedom for which he had panted, but the absence of all conventional distinctions of rank and accidents of condition more than once threw him among men whose greater wealth and different social position would in Eng- land for ever have separated them from him by the invisible barrier of caste. The strong original powers of his mind and his solid acquirements, instead of lying like the talent rusting in its napkin, were called out into demonstration by the various impulses of a state of society whose manifold activities, mental and physical, challenge in its develop- ment all the faculties of all who come with- in its influence. Morrison now uttered freely and elo- 28 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO quently thoughts and convictions that had been hitherto, like some potent corrosive chemical elements, eating themselves into his mind. Instantly marked by some of those dexterous political ' manipulators/ who are generated by swarms in the genial atmo- sphere of republican party politics, he was even drawn forward to make some public professions of his creed of government upon more than one popular occasion; several well- written and powerful articles from his pen found their way into a paper, then published by one of England's Radical reformers ; and thus, for awhile, all that had formed the concealed and concentrated innermost &oul of his life was suddenly thrown into outward expression, which was vehement, in spite df his moderate and self-controlled nature, simply as the result of all its previous re- pression and compression. All this was during the first year and a half of his residence in America ; to the subsequent subsiding of this effervescence into something FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 29 more like his former life, the privacy of his perfectly quiet and contented citizen career bore satisfactory evidence. It was, how- ever, during this first explosion, so to speak, of mental activity and excitement upon sub- jects in his estimation most vital, that his youngest child was born ; and how far the nervous exaltation and irritability of her temperament was derived from these causes, I leave to theorists in such matters to decide. Influences tending most materially to strengthen these unquiet elements in her nature were derived, however, from her mother, whose organization, unlike the equable and temperately robust disposition of her husband, was prone to nervous ex- citability, and in whom religious dissent and social discontent were more or less likely to assume a morbid character of gloom or ex- aggeration under unfavourable circumstances. Mrs. Morrisons political theories were probably, like those of most women, the mere reflex of her husband's ; and like the 3 o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO seed spoken of in Scripture, having no depth of root, could not fail to wither under the scorching sun of severe experience. When, in the land of universal liberty and equal rights, she found that the relations of family and domestic life, as well as the public func- tions of the Government, were all affected by the same principles ; and that a free household, as well as a free people, could only be controlled (if controlled at all) with the utmost patience, forbearance, and con- scientious respect for the individual rights of its individual members, her practice failed where her theory had flourished ; and old habits and associations, potent in women (especially in matters of home discipline far- more than in men, whose avocations generally free them from the tyranny of petty house- hold details), rendered her transplantation, at the age of thirty-seven, a difficult moral experiment. Her aunt's English home, with its very humble establishment of a maid-of-all-work, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 31 was a heaven of order, regularity, cleanli- ness, and economy compared with her first experiments in American housekeeping. Mrs. Morrison found it impossible to obtain, even at greatly higher wages, the service of any ' help ' (as they satirically called them- selves) that she considered comparable in competency to her poor little English drudge ; and whereas the latter had always observed the deferential demeanour towards her ' missus/ reckoned by British mistresses as one of the duties of her class, the helpful or hindranceful damsel who condescended, for a considerable consideration, to endure the condition of servant to Mrs. Morri- son, asserted her republican equality in a variety of ways, equally amazing and dis- tasteful to the lower middle-class English- woman, whose sense of propriety and per- sonal pride were alike disturbed by the free and easy manners of her American assistants. It was equally impossible to teach them how to turn down a bed properly, or to under- 32 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO stand why one way of turning down a bed was not just as proper as another. Note. — In a far more advanced stage of American civilization than that treated of in this story, the house- hold tribulations of persons much better able to purchase domestic service than Mrs. Morrison would have appeared incredible to any Englishwoman. A lady was compelled to discharge her cook for gross misconduct, but the woman refused to leave the house, and it was necessary to invoke the assistance of the sheriff's officer to effect her ejection, the last seen of her by her helpless employer being her resolute taking possession of a sofa in the hall, on the arm of which sofa the legal functionary was seated, with his arm round the waist of the recalcitrant female, who, whether by the force of moral suasion, or literally vi et armis, was eventually extracted from the house. A few days after she was engaged at very high wages by a lady in the same neighbourhood, who, being asked if she did not know under what disgraceful circum- stances the woman had been dismissed from her previous situation, replied, ' Oh yes, indeed ; she knew well enough ; but had been her own cook and kitchenmaid for upwards of eight weeks, and was tired of it.' CHAPTER IV. In Morrison s various attempts to find a suitable residence in several parts of the northern seaboard States, his wife had gone through a series of experiments more terrible to that creature of systematic comfort, order, and subordination, an Englishwoman of her class, than it would be at the present day. After two years of impotent struggling with unconquerable obstacles, and ineffectual resistance to uncontrollable circumstances, a period of alternate surprise, irritation, indig- nation, and final disgust, in which all the more biting and acrid qualities of her own disposition w^ere kept in morbid activity, 34 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO Mrs. Morrison entered, with comparative satisfaction, into her husband's plan of building himself a cottage near the village of Greenville, the last and most congenial neighbourhood he had tried ; and when they took possession of their home he had nearly worked off the first effervescence of his long- cherished opinions, and brushed, by contact with facts, the imaginary bloom from his theories, retaining with a sound judgment and cool temper the firm conviction of their main truth and justice. In the meantime his wife had lost all sympathy with the generous principles she had imagined she held of Liberal govern- ment and the ' rights of the people ;' and under the pressure of intolerable personal inconvenience, against which she struggled with unceasing ineffectual resistance and resentment, she had become inwardly a convert to despotism in national as well as family government ; while her religious con- victions assumed gradually a character of FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 35 stern severity, more apt to reprobate than conciliate those from whom she differed. Morrison hardly noticed the change in his wife, and attributed it, when he did, to the irritating difficulties attendant upon their frequent change of homes, since their one great change of country, and looked no deeper for dispositions upon which unfavour- able circumstances had merely acted by drawing out, not creating, certain inherent qualities of her nature, as the action of fire does not write, but only shows, the invisible characters traced with certain chemical pre- parations. He had found, with comparative ease, employment in some ironworks in the neigh- bourhood of his home. The work he under- took was welcome to him, as connected with the great Manchester establishment to which he had belonged ; and his special knowledge of the details of that peculiar industry, and general superior intelligence, soon procured him a position which commanded a good 3—2 36 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO salary, and more than contented his moderate desires and provided for the necessities of his family. I have spoken of the child who was born to him after his arrival in America — a girl, like the other, but in every respect so un- like, that, except in the classification of a naturalist, they could hardly be held to be creatures of the same species. Of the mystery of those strange dissimi- larities between children of the same blood and nurture, and whose nature exhibits radical and never-effaced difference, it is not my province to speak. In what accidents of various physical or mental conditions, at different periods of their parents' lives, physio- logists may see the causes of this pheno- menon ; into what deeper question of innate spiritual diversity psychologists, zealous for original intellectual qualities, or divines of Calvinistic tendency, more zealous for dogmas of Election and special Grace, may resolve it, the fact is too evident and too frequent FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 37 to escape the notice of the most superficial observer of human nature, though its reasons have hitherto been too subtle to be detected by the most profound. Of this fact the two girls of James Morrison furnished a remarkable instance. Susan, born three years before the emigra- tion of her parents, seemed from her earliest childhood the type of that still, reserved life of concentrated thought and feeling which both of them had led under the pressure of adverse circumstances. To these quiet ele- ments she added a gentleness of temper and demeanour, and an inherent quality of sunny cheerfulness — apparently her individual con- tribution to the serious character she in- herited from her parents. Without this element of change, which produces from the combination of two natures a third — in some kind or degree differing from both — indi- viduality and personal responsibility would be impossible ; inheritance of qualities would be only their absolute reproduction and the 3 8 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO infinite variety of special character lost in a universal mass of mere human resemblance resulting from transmission. This habitual quietness of deportment and serenity of humour exempted little Susan's childhood from the difficulties attendant upon the development of the rational responsible human nature, the careless or ill-advised direction of which prolonged child-labour (of which the pains and perils of the mother's birth-throes are but a faint type) sends the child, at the end of this spiritual gestation, too often a maimed, dwarfed, crippled, or otherwise deformed, mental and moral crea- ture into the after-life of adult years. The sober and depressing influences which had surrounded Morrison's eldest child in her earliest existence, the gray atmosphere in which she was, as it were, steeped, acted upon the physical, and thence — according to the mysterious decrees of Nature — the mental conformation of the little maiden, whose sunny cheerfulness was certainly FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 39 derived from neither her parents nor their circumstances, but which contrasted curiously with the vehement, not to say violent, demonstrations of her younger sister Mary. The difference of disposition of the tw^o children is, perhaps, best described by one or two small incidents of their small lives. Susan, unable to speak quite plain the word ' tulip,' was heard apostrophising a splendid specimen of the Eastern flower with a bow and bend, representing a curtsy, and the words, ' Tufel, I delight in thee ;' which homage she repeated with smiling satis- faction to the roses and other flowers she found in the small cultivated plot adjoining the cottage. On another occasion, her father finding her sitting on the doorstep singing — which she not seldom did — a hymn tune caught from her mother's household psalmody (from which probably her address to the flowers was also borrowed — ' Sion, I delight in thee '), and the very infrequent tears in her 4 o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO eyes attracting his attention, he asked the child what she was crying for ; to which she replied, ' I am not crying, father ; somebody is crying with my eyes ' — an answer which certainly showed how very little her crying was related to sorrow. On the other hand, Mary's sole curtsying homage was paid with a countenance of stern gravity in a series of silent inclinations to the door of a cupboard, whence her father had extracted occasional biscuits for her, upon condition of her curtsying for them. But twice, her mother thinking it necessary to restrain her incurable passion for solitary rambling in the fields and woods, she had testified her detestation of the discipline : once, by rushing headforemost — butting, in fact — at a wall, whence she fell back stunned with the force of the blow she had given ; and another time by tearing out whole handfuls of her hair, with which the floor was strewn, when her mother entered the room, and exclaiming with dismay at the sight, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 41 received for reply to her remonstrance, i It don't hurt/ accompanied with the tearing out of two more handfuls from her dis- hevelled mane. CHAPTEE V. The little girls went, as a matter of course, to the village school, and had their likes and dislikes, friendships and feuds, and loves and hates ; but they had between them both one only constant companion, devoted adherent, fellow-learner, and fellow-playmate — a boy named William Norris, the grandson of the old minister, Mr. Edwards, who, with his widowed mother, made up the family of the good clergyman, whose affection for his daughter and her boy showed itself in every indulgence that his small means permitted, and an early endeavour to instil into the lad the rudiments of his own not altogether limited literary cultivation. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 43 William Norris, three years older than Susan Morrison, was all but inseparable from her and her sister; he was a handsome lad, with a delicate iace and slender figure, and a countenance indicative of unusual re- finement and sensibility, which expression, exhibiting itself even in early boyhood, seemed rather ominous of physical, if not any other, weakness, which, unless outgrown, was likely to overgrow the organization so prematurely marked with it. Of his boyhood one anecdote was pre- served with some pride by his grandfather, who, accompanied by him, was going over his small and not very fertile mountain farm with an agriculturist fresh from the deep soil and heavy crops of the West. The latter, looking with contemptuous pity over the bit of Massachusetts meadow, where the scanty vegetation showed the bare rock bones through the thin surface, struck his foot upon a hard slab of stone, saying, 1 Now look here. Do you call this any sort 44 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO of a soil whatever ? What could you plant or raise on this rock V Mr. Edwards shook his head in silence, as if at a loss to suggest an excuse for his hard and poor piece of cul- tivated land, when the lad, his grandson, said with some fire, ' Well, at any rate, I guess you could plant a school and raise men on it,' which reply his grandfather referred to with much approbation ever after. # Mr. Edwards, who had a great respect for Morrison, offered to teach the manu- facturer's little girls whatever small humani- ties he was instilling into his boy's mind and memory, and so Susan and Mary became companions in William's lessons, as well as his recreations — Susan, steadily and con- scientiously ; Mary, only fitfully and capri- ciously in the first, and hardly in the second, her principal enjoyment being long, rambling, solitary expeditions into the woods and val- * This is a true anecdote of Massachusetts farmer's son. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 45 leys round Greenville, too distant for Susan to accompany her, and almost always re- quiring a prolonged search, on the part of William, to find and bring her back. The propensity for liberty and solitude thus shown by her child at first alarmed her mother, who not unnaturally apprehended some untoward accident from these lonely wanderings. When, however, Mrs. Mor- rison became aware that Mary incurred little, if no actual, danger in these excursions, by which her health, strength, and powers of self-help were undoubtedly benefited, the still recurring acts of disobedience exasperated and incensed her mother, whose theory of authority was, as I have said, daily becoming more stringent, and between whom and her singular child an ominous element of antago- nism was beginning to make itself felt by both of them, while yet unperceived by anyone else. Morrison, whose daily work necessarily carried him away from home, saw but little of this curious struggle, and when he did 46 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO detect any of it, was apt to take the child's part against the mother, whose endeavour to maintain her rightful supremacy seemed to him occasionally unnecessarily harsh, as it undoubtedly was, though the mother felt a root of resistance in the child's nature of a formidable fibre, from which she instinctively foreboded (perhaps exaggerated) evil results. One day — when after repeated infractions of her mother's injunctions not to leave the cottage, the latter, driven beyond all patience by Mary's obstinate disobedience, and un- able, from stress of housework, to keep any watch over her movements, resorted to the injudicious expedient of tying her trouble- some prisoner fast to a bedpost — Morrison, returning unexpectedly to the house, found the little girl, then hardly more than six years old, with a face purple with suppressed rage and crying, and wrists and arms red and swollen with ineffectual struggles to set herself free. A good deal shocked at this spectacle, he unfastened the child, who then, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO' 47 in a paroxysm of furious cries, sobs, and tears, flung herself into his arms, while her mother, without any external demonstration of an internal passion of grief and anger, quite as violent, merely said : ' That child is good for nothing, and will grow up good for nothing • and your encouraging her in her wild, wilful, wicked disobedience is evil teaching for the present and the future, James.' Morrison, like a wise man, made no answer, but put the child from him into a corner of the room, where she sat sobbing silently as long as he remained there. Having taken from his desk a paper he had come for, and left the house, Mary instantly curbed all tearful demonstration, and remained scowling at her mother, who was coming and going upon her various household errands. To assist her process of self-control by some muscular effort, she had seized upon the border of a table-cover near her, and was wringing and wrenching it with 48 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO considerable injury to the texture. Her mother having twice taken it from her hands and said, ' Let that alone/ and an- swered to the child's defiant ' Why must I V with a stern ' Because I bid you, and be- cause it is mine/ the little girl — her counte- nance assuming in its sternness a striking resemblance to her mother's — replied in a tone of deliberate determination, ' Yes. The tablecloth is yours, and the table is yours, and everything in the room is yours, except me, and I'm my own.' After which undeniable assertion of her personal property, the small individual soul went and seated herself on the doorstep and looked towards the woods and hills, for which she felt more than her usual yearning. CHAPTER VI. I have spoken of Morrison's employment as a sort of working overseer in the ironworks at Greenville Furnace. This partly authori- tative and partly companionable position in the establishment was not without diffi- culties, and tested successfully enough the discretion and equanimity of his disposition, and his sound judgment and good temper. The workmen at the furnace were all native New England men, Yankees with the single exception of one Irishman, employed by the special favour of one of the proprietors of the works, whose little child he had saved from drowning at some risk of his own life. 5 o FAR A WAY AND LONG AGO The son of Erin was almost the only troublesome item in the concern to Mor- rison. The Americans were hard-working, good-natured, easy-going, and tolerably reasonable and intelligent men, with whom he got on without any serious difficulty. The Irishman was a general favourite with all of them, to whom his wit, his humour, his irregular fancies and whimsical fun, were an incessant source of diversion — their own national want of animal spirits, and con- sequent rather unhilarious habit of mind, making them especially prone to like and admire Pat's vagaries ; while these his national and natural characteristics were no recommendation to the precise and prosaic Englishman, to whom the impulsive warmth and demonstrative exuberance of the Irish nature were as little congenial as its lively wit and poetical imagination ; while the Americans, who were a modified compound of both, had infinitely more comprehension of, and sympathy with, the quick-witted FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 51 brains and easily excited feelings of the one than with the sober, sedate, cool tempera- ment of the other foreigner, brought by ac- cidental circumstances into their fellowship. At the close of a hot sultry day in July, when the work had stopped at the forge, and Morrison was slowly climbing the hill towards his cottage, he was overtaken by Judge Selbourne, who was walking his horse in the same direction, and who, liking the Englishman's character and conversation, took every opportunity of showing that he did so. He brought his horse to Morrison's side, and accosted him with a friendly ' Good- afternoon,' going on with : ' Why, Morrison, what's this I hear — you've been having trouble dowm at the works with the men ?' ' Oh no, sir ! not the men : a man — that Irishman ; the rest are not as reasonable as might be wished, perhaps, but the trouble won't be much.' ' It's the old feud, I suppose, which you 4 — 2 52 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO have done us the good turn to bring over here amongst us ; English against Irish, Great Britain and Ould Ireland.' 6 Yes, I suppose it is the old feud between order and disorder, law and lawlessness, and honest labour and reckless idleness.' ' Simmons, who certainly is one of your best men, tells me you have discharged the fellow, and all the rest are quite opposed to his discharge.' ' I dare say they are ; indeed, they have all said as much ; but, you see, they are Americans, and I am not.' ' Very well, but they are not Irishmen any more than you, my good fellow ; and yet, you see, they do sympathize ' ' With that lazy, good-for-nothing rascal,' interrupted Morrison. ' Yes ; but not because he is lazy and good for nothing, but because he has a wife and six children, and was hurt in his fall from the dam, and will not be able to work for some weeks.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 53 6 I dare say not ; but that was his own fault, and is no affair of mine ; my duty was to discharge him, and I have done it.' 1 He wouldn't be likely to repeat his ex- periment of smoking in the buildings after this job, I think.' ' Perhaps not ; but that is not my busi- ness. The buildings were entrusted to me, and I have done my duty in protecting them by discharging him.' 1 Couldn't you have overlooked the matter this once ?' 1 No, not consistently with my duty ; there are the printed rules and regulations which he was bound to obey, and I am bound to see that they are obeyed.' 6 You may depend upon it, Mr. Curtis, your proprietor, will not consent to the fellow's being turned off, because of his having saved little Bob Curtis from drown- ing. I shouldn't wonder if he persuaded his partners to discharge you.' ' I should not at all wonder either,' said 54 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO Morrison ; ' but, you see, it was my duty to discharge Flaherty under the circumstances, and I have done, and mean to do, my duty.' 6 Confound your English hide -bound, idolatrous notion of duty, which neither acknowledges the claims of others in mercy, nor your own interest in expediency. After all, I am a lawyer and a judge, Morrison, and I could no more carry out the law, as you are doing, in despite of all human con- siderations of compassion and prudence ' ' No, sir,' interrupted Morrison, laughing with quite unconscious sarcasm ; ' but that's because you're an American, not because you are either a lawyer or a judge. That Irish fellow must leave the works if I'm to stay there.' 1 Very well,' said Mr. Selbourne. ' And now do explain to me how the accident at the dam happened— of course you neither struck nor pushed Flaherty ?' ' Certainly not ; but, as we were both cross- FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 55 ing the plank above the fall, he made at me with an evident intention of striking me, and as he had an iron rod in his hand, I raised my arm to protect my head, and at that moment he overbalanced himself and fell into the water below the dam. Of course he scrambled and was pulled out directly, but not without striking his arm pretty severely ; which, in my opinion, serves him quite right, and may help, with his cold- water ducking, to bring him to his senses, if he has any — though I doubt if he has any- thing that can be called sense.' ' Turn in here,' said Judge Selbourne. 1 1 always do when I come up this way.' He turned his horse as he spoke into a turf road, and in less than a quarter of a mile stopped at the edge of a beautiful clump of noble fir-trees, whose rich red trunks and dark blue-green boughs rose from and overshadowed a small hillock, where great detached and variously shaped masses of moss and lichen-covered rock 56 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO formed natural seats and benches (not unlike the ruinous remains of some ancient amphi- theatre), whence to enjoy the beautiful scene which it immediately overlooked. A small depression in the bosom of the hills held at its bottom a shallow sheet of clear water, the sole indication of a tra- ditional lake which had once filled the valley. Round this the first steps of the mountains rose gradually, clothed with a beautiful variety of forest trees, whose powerful roots grew below, and over, and round masses of rock, and sheltered a world of exquisite mosses, grasses, ferns, and wild- flowers. Immediately below the fir-wood, where Judge Selbourne had stopped his horse, a narrow regularly-shaped trench in the earth, the sides of which, of a deep orange colour, and the bottom, containing a pool of dark-green water, bore witness to some long-abandoned attempt at mining which had begun here and proved unsuccess- ful — below this scar in its surface, the FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 57 smooth bosom of the hill sloped gently down to the valley, and in the midst of its turfy swell, halfway to the bottom, a splendid and beautiful thicket, at least three acres in extent, of the kalmia (popularly called wild-laurel) displayed its exquisite profusion of rosy blossoms and brilliantly-varnished leaves. The bushes were so closely and thickly intertwined that it would have been all but impossible to penetrate them in any direction, even if the very great likelihood of their proving the covert for venomous snakes would not have deterred from the experiment. But the aspect of this expanse of lovely flowers and foliage drew frequent boy and girl visitors from the village to rob the outer circle of its dark-green shining leaves and blossoms of every shade of rose colour, from the pale, all but white, delicate tint of the full smooth opened petals, to the deep crinkled crimson of the buds. From the wood that clothed the hillside opposite this wonderful flower-show, the liquid voice 58 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO and flashing sparkle of a charming waterfall gave life to the sweet silence of the scene. The two men stood a moment without speaking. 6 I never pass this place without turning in to look at it/ said Judge Selbourne ; ' it is so beautiful !' ' If you, who have known it all your life, find it so, you can guess how it struck me when first I set eyes on it/ answered the Englishman. ' Yes, you have nothing like that at home, as you still call England/ said the Judge. And then, after a pause, he added : ' Mor- rison, what besides this growth of wild-laurel, which you have not, would be the most striking and important difference between this scene and the same extent of land in the old country V Morrison instantly replied : * That every foot of it would be the property of one man.' ' That's bad!' said the Judge. ' That's bad!' 6 Yes, that's bad ! and I often think, when FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 59 I look at it, how many thousands of pounds the Earl of Willmore would give to be able to put that hillside, just as it looks now, into his park near Manchester !' ' Well, it would not do him much good if he could, for it's an incorrigible savage, and won't be tamed — even here, where I have transplanted it repeatedly from the hillside close to my garden, a distance of only a few feet ; and it won't grow in the garden, and it will outside of it.' ' I know,' answered Morrison ; ' your rho- dodendrons and azaleas thrive and improve with us, and come from your mountains into our shrubberies only to grow more beautiful, but this kalmia won't bear transplanting. I suppose some things are born wild, and always remain so.' As he uttered the words, a slight girlish figure was seen climbing to- wards them round the edge of the wild-laurels, and he added : ' And this is one of them.' ' Those children of yours are growing into fine girls, Morrison.' 6o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 6 Yes, they are comely lasses enough/ said the father, with something of paternal pride in the modest encomium. ' My America and England, as I call them — my Mary and Susan.' 6 I like your England best/ said Mr. Selbourne. ' Ah ! that's because you are an American.' ' Perhaps it is because I am a judge/ said the latter, turning his horse's head back to the main road, with a friendly farewell gesture to Morrison, who remained waiting to be rejoined by his daughter ; than whom no more striking and beautiful type of his adopted country could have appeared in the midst of its characteristic scenery. Her slender figure swayed with careless grace as she slowly climbed the upland, her magnificent hair crowned with a garland of the kalmia leaves and blossoms, of which a wreath adorned her hat, which she carried in her hand, while a large bunch of them was in her girdle, and another in the hand with- FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 61 out the hat ; while her dress, a pale, delicate pink cotton fabric, harmonizing with the flowers, made her look almost like part of the wild shrubbery suddenly endowed with motion, or realized some ancient classical ] egend of a nymph in process of transforma- tion into some lovely blossoming plant. With very deliberate steps and slightly labouring respiration she gained the place where her father stood watching her ap- proach ; and giving him the bunch of flowers she carried, and putting her hand into the outstretched hand with which he received her, they turned without a word to their home. There was an infinite depth of silent sympathy growing up between those two souls, different as all their outward de- monstrations were. CHAPTEK VII. Judge Selbourne, pursuing his road, stopped his horse at the top of a small hill, whence he looked down on a picture of Irish America, at which he shrugged and smiled, saying to himself : ' Yes, this is the beginning ; in three generations the difference is very great ; but though they do improve, they don't alter : I suppose none of us do.' At the bottom of the hill on the right- hand of the road, and standing a little back from it, between a potato-patch and a small cornfield — the fence round which was, more or less, fallen in and out of what it pretended to enclose — stood a rough plank hut or cottage, the boards of which were innocent FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 63 of either plaster, whitewash, or paint. On each side of the door, which stood open, showing an interior into which another door opposite the first stood open also, was a window — in the right sash a missing pane was supplied by a tattered paper ; in the left two vacant panes were stuffed, the one with the seat of a pair of corduroy breeches, that looked as if somebody was sitting in it, the other with a pair of dirty stockings and a dirty flannel petticoat. A path, trodden hard by use, led from the road to the door of this characteristic abode, on one side of which rose the bad eminence of a slovenly dung-heap ; on the other sank the stagnant, stinking surface of a filthy pool, principally fed by the drainings of the former as they meandered across the path to the entrance. A dishevelled red-haired woman was clean- ing (or dirtying — it was difficult to say which) a much bruised and battered tin pail ; while a procession of a most pecu- liar sort every now and then interrupted 6 4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO her, and distracted her attention from her labours. A pig, evidently in a state of extreme ex- citement, came cantering over the dung-heap and through the pool, scattering their con- tents in every direction, followed by a feebly fluttering running and jumping hen, who speedily took the same road, pursued in her turn by a, flame-haired four-year-old female ruffian, who, in one much too short and much too narrow garment, chased the flying animals with a long willow wand, tipped with a bunch of flopping foliage. The whole procession came helter-skelter from behind the house, and made for the back of it again at the opposite corner ; the pig and poultry taking the direct way over and through all impediments, while the infant huntress, compelled by her mother s shrill outcries to circumvent them, and thus losing ground in the pursuit, made up for this disadvantage by vociferating shouts of ' Stop, stop, you robber ! you rogue ! you rascal ! you FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 65 thief !' in the midst of which she vanished behind the house, to return again in her wild chase, preceded by the more and more terrified and bewildered objects of her rage, who, in their fury and their fear, neverthe- less, never departed from the line they had adopted, or endeavoured to escape in any other direction. Judge Selbourne, laughing loudly at this grotesque spectacle, walked his horse down to the path, which he reached just as the pig, the hen and the child arrived in their mad career, causing the horse no little nervous alarm, and his rider some trouble in quieting him. The animals escaped. The child, seized by its mother, received a resounding thump in the small of its back (if it had a small), to which it responded by a sort of paviour's grunt, while she apostrophized it with : ' Come out of the fate of the horse's legs ! and be done throwing his honour off his back, will ye ! ye disturbing crathur, that 5 66 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO ye are ! with your hair looking as if the cat had kittened in it !' Judge Selbourne looked from the ' lovely child to the lovelier mother/ whose carroty locks appeared quite as if the hairdresser of both had been the same. ' I hear Pat has hurt his arm, Mrs. Q'Flaherty,' said he, ' and I have come to see him. I'll just tie my horse on the opposite side of the road ; he'll stand quietly enough there.' 6 It's thankful to ye, sir, that I am, and Pat'll be for your kindness, and the child won't go nigh the horse as long as it has the pig and the poultry to look after.' 6 Where are all the others ?' rather appre- hensively inquired the Judge. 6 Sure they're all away to the woods for berries, and I've got the babby here keeping of me company in his cradle, and Ailsie keeping them onasy bastes quiet, as your honour sees, and me a claning and a talking to Pat and singing to the babby all in one/ FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 67 A very cordial greeting took place be- tween O'Flaherty and his visitor, to whom he presented the solitary limping-chair, the straw bottom of which was as dishevelled as the female heads of the establishment, while he seated himself on the edge of the bed ; he was rather pale, and his arm was in a sling 1 . o 6 You have seen Dr. Moore, Pat, I know. What does he say to you ? No bones broken, eh V ' Ah, none at all at all, sur, only a bad thump on my raight arrm, and all over me confusions, he says — and confused it is I was, and am.' ' Well, a little time will set all that right. 5 ' Oh, to be sure, to be sure.' ' But now, do tell me, will you ? how it all happened. I have heard Morrisons account of the scuffle, and I should like to hear yours.' ' Of course you would, sir, as it's only out 5—2 68 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO of all the lies on both sides that one ever gets at the truth/ ' Certainly. Well, did you strike or push him ?' 6 Is it did I which ? Och, nather of both. I was coming along the plank, and he was going the same way ' * No, no, not the same way, since you met.' * It's true that ye say, Judge ; the very reverse it were, and I had hould of a little bit of iron, maning to give him a small tap with it ; and he raised his arrm suddint, as I raised mine, and in coorse he made my fut slip* and so I fell into the wather.' ' But did he push you ?' 6 'Deed, no, sur, but I fell in becase of 'im, just as if he had pushed me.' ' I see. But now, why the mischief did you smoke in the wooden building, when the rules and regulations are there, and have been always, against it ?' 'Och, thim rules and regulations ! I thought they were set up to be broken.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 69 ' Nonsense, Pat ! you thought no such thing.' ' And bedad thin, if they hadn't been set up, how could they ever have been broken ?' ' Ah, to be sure ; well, you won't be able to work yet awhile, and when you are, Morrison won't have you back there.' ' Indade, and I shan't demane meself to go where he stays, as if I had insulted him instead of him insulting me, by turning of me off.' 1 I don't think there was any insult on either side.' ' Maybe not, though when I was work- ing at the street-making, down yonder at Brooklyn opposite New York, didn't I insult the Mayor if I plased ?' 6 Nothing could be better, if you and he liked it, Pat.' 6 Ah, to be soore not ! and we both of us did like it, and I always voted for him, and he was a raal American gentleman, and that's the differ bechuxt him and that 7o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO fellow with the tyrancy British blood in him/ ' The men at the furnace have made a subscription for you as long as you can't work, and Morrison has headed it very handsomely/ ' Divil a bit of his money, thin, will I be after resaving, and I'll be thankful to ye, sur, to make that known ; the wife and the childer should starve besides meself, before ating the bread of his dirty dollars.' 6 Well, you'll soon have a lot of your own people up here, for this new railroad they talk of running by the riverside, I'm sorry to say.' ' And what for will your honour be sorry V 1 Because it spoils our beautiful green water and its meadows, and brings a whole pack of you Irish fellows about with your untidy cabins, and your dirt, and noise, and quarrelling, and drinking, and fighting, and general disturbance.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 71 ' Och, and ye don't like that ! — and what for don't ye emigrate, thin ?' ' I am thinking: of doing" so,' answered the Judge. ' And where would yer honour mane to go ?' ' Oh, to Ireland, of course,' replied Mr. Selbourne, with the sweet but sub-satirical smile that not unfrequently dawned on his fine face. ' Long life to yer honour for thim words, sure ! and where could ye go better thin to Ould Ireland, and wouldn't the O'Flahertys be proud to resave ye, and give ye welcome V At this point of Patrick's prospective Irish hospitality, an uproar of so obstreperous a nature broke the thread of his enthusiasm that he remained with his mouth wide open and his head turned to the door, through which now scampered the pig, with his tail so tightly curled up that it seemed to lift his legs from the ground, as, uttering a com- bination of deep grunts and shrill squeals, 72 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO and all but lying on his side in his mad career, he clattered in at one and out at the other door, followed by the wretched hen, who, with outstretched throat, flew and ran with fluttering wings and straggling legs, squawking in her wild escape from the flame-headed, furious Ailsie, who, without her wand of office, now pursued the creatures at the top of the speed of her stumpy legs. These, however, suddenly failing, she fell flat on her stomach in the middle of the floor. The rebound between the two hard surfaces set her on her feet again, not, however, with- out a strident rip and rend of her single garment, which, parting from head to heel behind her, threw the superfluous drapery forward, which impediment to her course she clutched in both her hands ; and thus, with ' her gown twisted round her arms,' the ' avenging childe ' pursued her chase so thoroughly out of breath with it and her tumble that, as she galloped along, she only puffed and panted all but inaudibly her FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 73 vociferations of ' Stop, stop, you robber ! you rogue ! you rascal !' etc. This wild hunt sent Judge Selbourne into roars of laughter as he rose from his chair, while Pat shouted to his partner, ' Biddy, Bridget, Mrs. O'Flaherty!' (he never omitted the noble O, the neglect of which was one of his great griefs against Morrison), ' will ye be plased to kape yer bastes and childer quiet ? Here is the Judge obliged to lose the pleasure of his visit to me, alongst o' thim and their disorders.' ' Oh, here,' said the Judge, turning as he went out, ' I was almost forgetting the embrocation Mrs. Selbourne gave me for your arm.' 6 The embarcation is it ? and what'll I do with it ? Drink it dow r n all at onst V ' Drink it, man ? No, no ; let Bridget rub it well into your skin, will you ?' ' I wull' ' Mind now, Bridget, Pat has got the bottle — the embrocation.' 74 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO i Is it to drink it, sur — the embarcation ?! ' No, no, no, you foolish woman !' shouted back the Judge, as he crossed the road and untied and mounted his horse. ' Not a drop of it. Rub it well into his arm ; don't let a drop of it go into his mouth.' 6 I wull ; he shall ; it shan't, sur.' The Judge shrugged again, as he had on his arrival, and laughed half his way home ; then, looking at his watch, ' No time for Mumbett this afternoon,' said he, as he alighted at his own door. CHAPTER VIII. Mumbett, for whom the Judge had no time that afternoon, was another inhabitant of Greenville to whom his charitable help and advice were frequently extended, needing both, as she did, quite as often as most of those whom he called his neighbours, and who were so in the more Scriptural sense of the title. The cottage inhabited by the woman known by this singular appellation was at the opposite extreme of the village from the Irish dwelling we have just described, and was as opposite to it in every respect as in its situation. A small patch of potatoes and Indian corn surrounded it, but both were 76 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO maintained in thriving growth and condition by the incessant labour of her spade, hoe, and watering-pail. The fence round them never wanted a rail or a post, generally borrowed from the enclosures of her well-to- do neighbours, and dragged, carried, driven or laid into her own during the night, when she was quite as apt to be abroad and working as in the day. Her cottage, small and poor enough, was kept in habitable con- dition by the charitable assistance of Mr. Edwards, and her own indefatigable patching, thatching, and whitewashing, in and out ; she owed to the same worthy man's benevo- lence the cow which she pastured along the roadsides, and housed in a rickety out- building adjoining her cottage and warmed by its chimney. She took odd jobs of rough work from the village matrons in any house- hold stress, and even willingly in the fields, when the farmers allowed her to help weeding or stoning them, and received from them small but equitable wages for her toil ; and FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 77 from their wives frequent tributes of super- fluous food and cast-off clothing, which the general humble prosperity of their condition made it an act of easy charity to bestow on her. Mumbett was an Indian, the last, and now a very aged, member of a gradually diminished, and now entirely extinguished, tribe of North American red-skins, who, as long as tradi- tion could tell, had gone by the name of the Green Water Indians — former inhabitants and possessors of the valley watered by that stream, who, driven away by its white invaders and possessors, still continued for a number of years to return annually to a burial - ground not far from Greenville, believed to contain the bones of their wild forefathers. By degrees, the numbers of these pilgrims to the dwellings of the dead grew fewer and fewer, and within no living recollection was any of them seen but Mumbett, who, for some reason of her own, had wandered alone 78 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO back to their haunt in Massachusetts, while the small remnant of her tribe joined them- selves to the still comparatively numerous band of the Oncidas, in the settlement assigned to them by the State Government of New York. Her Indian blood bore its own witness in her tawny skin, high cheek-bones, small bead black eyes, and the once straight shining black hair (now, indeed, grown snow-white), and, combined with her solitary life and solemn speech, or still more solemn habitual silence, gave a slight feeling of dislike and distrust, not quite unmingled with supersti- tion, to the sentiment with which the younger members of the village community regarded her. She was very old and quite unable to tell her own age, but had preserved extra- ordinary muscular strength, powers of endur- ance, swiftness of foot, and savagely keen use of eyes and ears — seeing and hearing at distances which seemed almost preter- natural to the American descendants of the FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 79 English New England emigrants of former years. A broad, low pallet bed, some coarse culinary utensils, and the roughly tanned and dressed skins of wild animals, wolves and bears, formed the furniture of her cabin, in which she kept various assorted packages of wild herbs for decoctions, which she asserted to be healing in many animal and human disorders, and to which, in thecredulity of ignorance, her village neighbours occasion- ally resorted, and from which they, as often as not, derived temporary relief, if not perma- nent cure ; the really medicinal properties of the vegetable products of her native woods and waters being well known to the ex- perience of one accustomed to haunt them. Philters and charms of a more potent and less popular nature she professed also to possess — beneficent love-charms and male- ficent spells ; but of these she rarely spoke, and still more rarely made use, the shrewd good sense and general intelligence of her Yankee patrons, as well as their strict 8o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO religious faith, tending alike to throw dis- credit upon these semi-supernatural preten- sions of one who would undoubtedly have been burned for a witch under the more bigoted laws of English colonial govern- ment in the capital of Massachusetts, Boston, and its neighbouring settlement, Salem. The materials of the combined use of which her cabin most frequently reeked were tobacco and the wild mint, whose strong aromatic decoction, liberally diluted with vile brandy, she found equally salutary and agreeable. Of Mumbett's very peculiar religious opinions and sentiments it was difficult to obtain any definite idea ; the more zealous church-members shook their heads occasion- ally over the unreclaimed heathen. The religious mind of Greenville was, how- ever, not a little exercised in another direc- tion than that of the poor Indian savage's semi-idolatrous persuasions. It was a per- fectly notorious fact that Judge Selbourne himself, born in Boston and educated at FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 81 Harvard, was a member of the profession then prevalent in that city and university : he was a Unitarian, and as such would hardly have been held entitled to the name of a Christian by the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and generally Calvinistic sects, among which the large majority of the Protestant inhabitants of the New England States was divided. But Judge Selbourne, and many members of his family, contri- buted more liberally than anyone in the whole valley, or even in Gordonton, to the Methodist church, where all the inhabitants worshipped. He and his wife attended its services, and he was upon terms of the most friendly intimacy with the Reverend Mr. Edwards, its beloved and respected minister. His daily acts of beneficence, benevolence, kindness, helpfulness, and unselfish devotion to those among whom he passed his life, might have, suggested charitable judgments of his opinions to those who certainly testified their appreciation of, by their incessant 6 82 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO demands upon, them, whether they acknow- ledged their source to be correct religious profession, or only unregenerate practice. Mumbett was an object of interest and sympathy with the Judge, whose studies had not unfrequently led him to the traditional records of the North American tribes, and more especially to those of the branch to which she belonged. He always stopped his horse at her cottage door, to ask what especial want Mrs. Selbourne could just then supply for her, and never turned away with- out leaving some small money contribution as his own tribute to her poverty. Mumbett's most frequent and much most favourite visitors, however, were the Morrison sisters and William Norris ; Susan was not without some slight fear of the weird-look- ing wild woman, but never failed when she came to bring some home-made bread, or savoury soup, or fresh butter, to propitiate her goodwill. William brought his Bible, and read and explained, and tried with the FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 83 utmost patience and zeal to awaken in the mind of his hearer what he hoped might prove the dawn of that saving light to which he strove to lead her. But Mary, who brought her neither bodily nor spiritual food, was the only one of them who really found or imparted any pleasure in her visits to the Indian cottage. The girl's wild and the woman's savage nature had something akin to each other ; and the absorbed attention with which Mary sat and listened to the accounts of the scattered tribes ; the wrong as she (in common with the narrator) held their being driven forth from their native forest fastnesses to be ; their bloody feuds, in which Mumbett's ancestors figured with ferocious triumph ; the supernatural and pathetic legends of the Indian mythology — all combined to exercise a powerful charm over her imagination ; while the strange uses and abuses which the Indian attributed to the weeds and leaves, the bones and toad and snake-skins 6 — 2 84 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO hung round the cabin walls, excited her curiosity, and to some degree impressed her with a belief of the possible truth of the qualities attributed to them. Some of the hours which her mother supposed she spent in profitless wood -wanderings were un- doubtedly passed where she would still more have condemned her so passing them, in the company and cottage of Mumbett, the ' heathen Indian savage.' CHAPTER IX. Except for the momentary flash of antagon- istic partisanship with which the disturbance at the forge had latterly excited the unevent- ful course of village existence, the years had rolled on with the smooth, gliding rapidity of uninterrupted monotony. Sickness and death, adverse fortune and sorrow darkened, and healthful labour, cheerful prosperity, content and happy family love brightened, the human lot of the Greenville folk. Mean- time, ao^e grew older and feebler in its older members, and youth older and stronger in the younger, as the seasons succeeded each other in peaceful procession — seedtime and harvest, the rosy blossoming of the 86 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO apple orchards and their ruddy fruit-bearing, being the chief interest and variety in the outward aspect of the place. William Norris left his grandfather's house to pursue his studies at a strict Calvinistic college in the north of the county, where he was to prepare himself for the duties and labours of the minister's career, to which he, by his own choice, had devoted his life ; and his schoolmates and playmates, Morrison's daughters, saw him only on the occasions of the rare holidays when he re- visited Greenville, and when gradually a closer and more affectionate sympathy with the elder, Susan, manifested itself in their intercourse. The returning years brought the develop^ ment of the two girls to the entrance of the interesting period of early womanhood. They were both attractive in very different styles of beauty. Susan, short for her age, but whose delicately feminine figure recalled the rounded symmetry of the Medician Venus, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 87 appeared younger than she was ; partly because of her moderate stature, and partly from the peculiar simple serenity of her expression, the limpid clearness of her bright brown eyes, and the childlike sweetness of her smiling mouth. Her complexion was vivid, with the rosy colour of youth and health, which, combined with a skin as white as milk, gave her the nickname among her American girl companions of ' Strawberries and cream ;' her ringlets were of the sunny chestnut called ' auburn.' Mary was always taken, by those who did not know them, for the elder of the two. Taller than Susan by three inches, her lithe slender figure had a slow and slightly angular movement and gesture which contrasted strikingly with Susan's rapid, light, and smooth motion. Occasionally, too, a bearing that might almost be qualified as proud (the other girls called it haughty) corresponded to an expression akin to scorn in her serious face, the habitual look of which was one of $8 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO absent indifference to, when not of passionate, vehement participation in, what surrounded her. Her features were fine and regular ; the outline of her head, face and throat singularly noble ; her eyes (the gray -green known as hazel, the most powerfully expres- sive of various emotion) sometimes looked lighter than they were, and at others assumed a dark steel colour, almost black, from which quick flashes of lightning darted with a brightness too sudden and fierce for beauty. Her hair was her finest and most striking feature (if that expression can be applied to hair) ; it crowned, with a perfect glory of soft gold, her fine head, straight brows and white throat, falling in redundant waves down to her waist. She was as fair as her sister, but without the rosy vividness of Susan's complexion. It was not long before the apprehension Judge Selbourne had expressed to Morrison, and in which the latter had acknowledged his participation, was realized. Mr. Curtis, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 89 the proprietor of the Greenville Furnace, acted upon by the incessant representations and misrepresentations of O'Flaherty, to whom he owed the life of his son, and find- ing the sympathy of the majority of his fellow -workmen decidedly enlisted in the Irishman's behalf, while a dry admission of Morrison's justice was their only testimony in his favour, determined to dismiss the latter, and, with the noisy triumph of the Irishman and the quiet acquiescence of the Americans, the Englishman received a notice to give up his employment. ' Who's to take his place — one of you ?' asked Judge Selbourne of Simmons, the foreman of the works under Morrison's administration. ' Wal, I guess,' responded the latter, ' some of us might do about as wall !' ' Yourself, perhaps, Simmons ?' ' Maybe so, Judge ; I calkilate we could keep things straight without being just so almighty particklar as Morrison is.' 9 o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO ' No doubt ; let Flaherty smoke in all the buildings, the hay-barn included, and burn the whole concern to the ground, to Mr. Curtis's greater satisfaction.' ' I don't know as that would be altogether necessary ; d'you suppose Morrison will re- move down from his place here to Valley Forge ?' asked the workman. 'There is a tidy house down there if he chose to take it.' ' Yes,' said Judge Selbourne ; ' the house is well enough, but it's plaguy close to the swamp, Simmons, and I don't know how the English constitution of his family will agree with that, or that with it. Mrs. Morrison and the girls might be the worse for the change ; Morrison himself doesn't believe in fever and ague, and says he'll engage to live over a swamp without ever having anything of the sort.' ' Wall now, if that ain't just like his English conceit ! To be sure, he mightn't catch anything so low, he does carry his nose so darned high.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 91 And thus, with partial rejoicing and more general indifference, the Englishman, who, if he had not offended anyone (with the single exception of Flaherty), had certainly con- ciliated nobody by the strict and unsympa- thizing discharge of his duty, left the works at Greenville Furnace, and entered upon a new overseership at the iron foundry of Valley Forge. CHAPTER X. Morrison did not remove his family from their cottage at Greenville, and took willingly enough the rather longer walk to Valley Forge ; not unfrequently, however, to the utter contempt of Judge Selbourne's advice, shortening the distance by a path that went round the swamp, instead of the higher and drier but less direct road. This forbidding and certainly malarious bit of ground (if ground it could properly be called) was, in fact, a deep reservoir of black mud, covered with a surface of black water, extending for a space of about five acres in a hollow of the fields near Valley FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 93 Forge. Too low to discharge its stagnant waters into the river, whose rushing stream in its near vicinity laboured with its natural enemy, the fierce furnace fires, in the service of men, they oozed slowly away by infil- tration that made the meadow-land all round their margin unsafe treading. A dwarf growth of stunted willows and alders covered with an impenetrable jungle the dark trembling surface of the pool at one end ; at the other, which was bare of bushes, the golden balls of the yellow and mother-of- pearl stars of the white water-lily formed a network of equally impenetrable but more attractive growth. The depth of this pool was not ascertainable, for no boat could be launched upon its forbidding surface, which resembled in all its gloomy features, though on a diminished scale, the great dismal Carolina swamp. Animals appeared to avoid by instinct its treacherous neighbourhood, and one unfortunate cow who had strayed into its clammy green meadow margin re- 94 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO mained so inextricably swamped that its owners mercifully shot it, leaving its carcase, hide, horns, and whatever value they might have possessed, to rot down into the stagnant, semi-liquid, semi-solid surface. Morrison's new position, which had been procured for him by the interest of Judge Selbourne, was in every way satisfactory. One of the proprietors of the works, himself an Englishman, was glad to have him for their superintendent, and as he declined all Irish labour, the disturbing element of Irish character was not among the difficulties of the overseership. The only change brought into Morrison's habits by his new employment was an apparently trivial one : instead of returning home for his dinner or mid-day meal, he took it at the Forge, and only went back to Greenville when the works were shut up and all but the necessary night- labour stopped till morning. He gener- ally took the upper road home, and avoided the shorter but lower path by the swamp, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 95 which was damper in the evening than the morning. One evening, however, when he had been detained later than usual at Valley Forge, and thought it well to save time and his wife some anxiety (anxiety, however un- justified by circumstances, not unfrequently taking the form of irritability, was a pre- dominant element in her nature), he turned into the narrow swamp path. The last half-hour he had passed at the Forge had been in a smelting building, where some- thing had gone wrong, and he had lent his ow r n personal exertions to help the workmen in remedying it. He was a good deal heated by this effort, but, without paying much attention to this, pursued his way till he came to the pond, and stopped to look at it. The moon, high in the heavens, but still of a slender crescent shape, looked like some antique golden lamp, suspended by invisible cords to a brilliant star immediately above it ; the waters of the pool, agitated by the 96 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO evening breeze, turned up their small dark ripples and edges with linings of silver to the light ; and, touched by the soft splendour, two white water-lilies balanced themselves on the black wavelets like fairy swans bathing in the moonlight. Morrison, struck with the unusual circum- stance of the flowers not having entirely closed at evening, was seized with a desire to possess himself of them, and, looking about to find some means of approaching the water's edge, observed several tufts of thicker and stronger rush-grass rising above the level of the marshy bit of meadow he had to cross. The distance was only a few feet, and with the help of these clumps of coarse reeds and a hurdle, which he took from the opposite side of the road, and threw down as a sort of causeway, he got so near the edge of the pond as to be able to reach with the curved end of his walking-stick the lilies he wished to capture, and contrived to secure his prize, and walked triumphantly home with it. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 97 Arrived at his cottage, the interior of which presented a very pleasant picture of modest comfort, he paused to contemplate it at the door. His wife and Susan sat sewing in the lamp -light by the table ; a small fire, burning almost to its embers, sent the pleasant warmth and fragrance, and soft purring flicker of flaming wood, through the room ; and Mary, within the light of the lamp, but less brilliantly illuminated by it than Susan, was reading a book she very nearly knew by heart (the ' Pilgrim's Pro- gress '), but which still, and always, in spite of her familiarity with it, retained a power- ful charm for her in its quaint and homely but most picturesque allegory. ' Mason on Self-Knowledge,' Newton's c Cardiphonia,' Cowper's hymns (if she only had his poems ! but poetry, except that of hymns, was a forbidden mental aliment in that house), and a number of Methodist tracts and works of devotion, were the only books Mrs. Morrison's strict sectarianism tolerated. 7 9 8 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO Morrison thought the room, with its three female heads of such different characters, a pleasant object, and coming in with ' Good- evening, wife and girls/ he laid the two beautiful water-lilies on the table. Mrs. Morrison only said : ' James, you got those in the swamp ; you shouldn't stop there, especially in the evening,' and got up to give him his evening meal ; the girls took the lilies : Susan put hers into a cup of water, where it rocked under the mellow lamp- light, and Mary twisted hers with some of its dark leaves and long brown stems in her splendid hair. Whatever ornament or addi- tion to her dress she adopted was always in striking harmony with it, and testified by its appropriate elegance to her innate sense of beauty, and her very decided consciousness of her own, which her mother, injudiciously enough, combated, sometimes by absolutely ignoring or denying it, which neither the girl herself nor anyone else could do ; at other times, speaking with terror and detestation FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 99 of it as a snare of Satan, in which her child's soul was to be entangled to its perdition. As she returned, bringing in her husband's supper, her eye fell on the flower in Mary's hair : ' Miserable vanity !' she exclaimed — ' wretched self-worship and pernicious devo- tion to the pride of the eye, the pride of the flesh, and the outward adornment forbidden by the Apostle.' Mary sat silent, while her father, looking at her with affectionate admiration, only said : ' The Apostle forbade plaiting, and jewels, and gold and silver, not, I think, Anna, a wild flower, in a w^ild mass of hair.' ' The sinful vanity is the same,' said Mrs. Morrison ; i the Apostle, too, recommended the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. Perhaps you think the flower and the hair conducive to that ?' ' Oh ! exclaimed Mary, ' I wish there wasn't a single hair of it.' 7—2 ioo FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO ' You did your best, when you were a child, to fulfil that wish/ retorted her mother. ' And bad was the best that time,' said the father. ' And it grew again, darling,' said Susan, passing her hand lovingly over the beautiful ripples of soft gold. 6 Oh yes ; it grew again, mores the pity !' said the mother. All this time, Morrison, quite unconscious that his feet were soaking wet with the swamp water, sat at his supper, till a slight shiver running over him reminded him of that fact, and admonished him to take off his wet shoes and dry his feet. In the night, when Susan was asleep, Mary got up, and deliberately cutting off all her redundant tresses short round her neck, threw the shining natural diadem of her head out of the window. It fell on the doorstep, where, glistening in the morning sunshine, her father found it, as he started FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 101 for his early walk to his work, Very much shocked and grieved at this ruthless sacrifice of the girl's great beauty, he took it up, and, tenderly kissing it, rolled it round his hand and put it inside his waistcoat, not knowing which pained him most deeply — his wife's inexorable strictures, or Mary's inexorable resentment of them. The night had been for him one of little rest or comfort ; his mind had been disturbed by the scene at his supper, and before morning he had had a much severer return of the chill he had ex- perienced the preceding evening ; but, robust in his usual health, and extremely averse to paying any attention to trifling disturbances in it, he set off for Valley Forge, but was soon made aware of some decided disorder in his system by an acute pain in his side, and difficulty in breathing. Still thinking these symptoms of no great importance, he went through his daily work without at- tending to them, which, however, he was compelled to do, by the increased pain io2 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO and difficult respiration as he walked home. The next morning, Mrs. Morrison, in spite of his opposition, begged Dr. Moore, the village ^Esculapius, to look in and see her husband, who received, to his considerable vexation, the strictest orders not to leave the house. Dr. Moore, who was considered by some of his acquaintances rather mad, and by all of them very eccentric, had given grounds for this opinion by his actions and course of life, which certainly were singular, to say the least of them. He was the son of a Green Valley farmer, who had given him the very unusual advantage of a college educa- tion ; thinking him unusually gifted, and ambitious that his training should answer to his gifts. The son so far justified his father s expectations, that he distinguished himself early when only a medical student, and while he was still quite a young man, as an uncommonly able and successful practitioner. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 103 His professional success was so remarkable that nobody doubted his soon achieving both fame and fortune, as one of the leading physicians of Boston, when, his father's illness and death calling him back to his native village, he delighted his competitors and astonished everybody, by relinquishing his very promising career in the city, and taking up his abode in the neighbourhood of Greenville. He was a gentleman and a scholar ; and between himself and Judge Selbourne an intercourse of very cordial intimacy soon ripened into a strong friend- ship and growing satisfaction in each other's society. Though apparently he had aban- doned his profession as a means of livelihood, Dr. Moore still exercised it with great interest and activity among his neighbours, and within a circuit of considerable extent; having originally embraced it for its own sake, he continued to practise it from an intense interest in it, and a benevolent desire to serve his fellow T -creatures. His care was i©4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO given, and it was widely solicited, gratui- tously, to the poorer inhabitants of the villages of Green Valley, and generally acknowledged, by the well-to-do farmers and manufacturers, by payments, such as they considered appropriate to his services, and which he accepted without ever reckoning whether they were adequate to them, or would have been deemed so by the medical fraternity. He was an omnivorous reader, but especially voracious of all modern works relating to his profession ; and no mean classical scholar, Homer and the great Greek dramatists being among his not infrequent intellectual studies. His independent fortune sufficed his very moderate mode of life ; a picture of a lovely woman, the only ornament of his modest abode, giving some pretext for the notion prevalent about him, that a dis- appointed attachment had determined the abandonment of his city life and success in his career. After forbidding Morrison s leaving the FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 105 house, Dr. Moore stopped at the Selbournes', and met the Judge at his own door. ' How is Morrison ?' inquired the latter. i Morrison is not dying yet, but will be before the end of the week.' i God bless me ! you don't say so ; so suddenly as that !' 6 Inflammation of the lungs makes quick work.' They walked on in silence. ' I am very, very sorry !' said Mr. Selbourne ; i a valuable man — an interesting man.' ' Yes ; but, you see, an Englishman, who doesn't believe in fever and ague in the marshes of Massachusetts, because they don't have it in Lancashire ; and who, if they had had it in Manchester, would never have believed it could touch him. He has got his death from that Valley Forge Swamp, and no mistake.' 6 1 am terribly sorry I ever advised him to take that situation.' 106 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 6 I am going in here/ said the doctor, as they passed Mr. Edwards' house. ' How is dear old Mr. Edwards going on?' 6 Oh ! very well, very well ; it was but a slight attack, after all. Paralysis at his age is apt to be a more serious matter.' 6 But his speech ?' 6 He won't recover that entirely ; par- tially, perhaps, but there will always remain more or less impediment.' ' Won't he be able to resume his minis- try ?' ' No, I should think not ; but there is his grandson able to take charge of the church and people now, isn't he ?' ' Not quite yet, I think ; I doubt if he is quite of the age to take orders yet ; and there has been some talk of his going back to Hillsborough to finish his divinity studies there.' ' Oh ! Well, if that lad isn't ready to preach to us,' said the doctor, l there are FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 107 plenty who are ; some boy will come and tell us all about life, death, and immor- tality, knowing quite as much of the one as the other — no want of parsons. They'll send you somebody to do dear old Edwards' duty, till his grandson is fit to undertake a cure of souls. I'm glad mine's only a cure of bodies — not quite so devilish difficult !' Here the friends parted, and Dr. Moore went in to see Mr. Edwards, who had suffered a slight paralytic stroke, from which, however, he was apparently recover- ing. Not ten days after this meeting between Dr. Moore and Judge Selbourne,the latter was sitting by the bed where James Morrison lay on the very edge of death. The acute attack of inflammation had indeed done quick work, and the man, exhausted with sharp pain, lay now so still and silent that the expectation of the end was present with him and all about him. The room w^as darkened, and, except the measured ticking of the hall clock, no io8 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO sound but the struggling respiration and spasmodic cough of the dying man was heard throughout the small house. Judge Selbourne sat by the bed-head, and, oppo- site to him, the wife, holding her husband's hand, and every now and then wiping his forehead, and stooping to catch some whispered word. Two tears had crept as slowly down her face as if they had eaten their way into her cheeks, and remained without falling, all but corroding the surface of the skin with the bitterness of their slow silent drops. At the foot of the bed Susan had sunk down on the floor, dissolved in tears, that poured over her smooth young face like heavy rain over flowers. On the other side stood Mary, and Mr. Selbourne thought he had never beheld such sorrow in any human countenance as hers. No tears, not even the reluctant ones of her mother, had fallen from her eyes, whose fixed and stony gaze was riveted to her father's face. A deep furrow of intense pain contracted her FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 109 forehead, and the corners of her mouth were drawn down with the same anguish ; her clasped hands showed in white lines the con- vulsed pressure of her fingers, and every now and then a strong shudder shook her from head to foot. All was silent in the room, as the muffled footsteps of death drew nearer and nearer to the bed. Morrison drew his wife down towards him, and, giving her a paper folded under his hand, said, ' Take care of this ' — it was Mary's hair. She took care of it, and locked it safely away, looking at it again only, when she did so, with a pang of sickening mother s yearn- ing over the relic of her child's beauty, and a sense of spiritual satisfaction in the sacri- fice of it. Morrison held her down, and presently, in a whisper that grew fainter and fainter, and more interrupted with gasps of difficult breathing, said : ' Anna, do you remember the field by the canal at Worsley — how no FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO sweet the cowslips and primroses were there in the spring ? There are none here — England !' That was the last word. He died, and was buried in the beautiful graveyard by the village meeting-house, where the dead, if they could open their eyes, would look on one of the fairest regions of valley, moun- tain, wood and meadow that the earth can show. No cowslips or primroses grew on his grave — not even the familiar daisy and hardy hedge-rose of his English home grew near it ; but the splendid rhododendrons, azaleas and kalmias of his adopted land shed their brilliant petals on the earth where he slept, and often on the prostrate form of his youngest child, who, with her warm young bosom throbbing against the pitiless stone, and her lips pressed to the name en- graved on it, wailed in a low voice of bitter desolation : i Come back ! Oh ! come back and help me f CHAPTER XI. Morrison's death made but little difference to the small community in which he lived. He was respected, but not liked, by the people he lived among, and would have been more liked had he been less respected ; for the qualities that commanded their esteem did not excite their sympathy, and his conduct in the matter of O'Flaherty's dismissal had impressed his American neighbours as want- ing in 'good nature,' a quality in which they, perhaps, superabounded. The loss of his salary at the iron-works was rather a serious one to his widow and daughters, and Mrs. Morrison, in her less easy circumstances, became more anxious in her mind, more ii2 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO irritable in her manner, and more melan- choly in her countenance. Susan, as usual, brought relief to the pressure of the strait- ened means by her indefatigable helpfulness in the management of the small household and its small economies, proposing at once, with smiling cheerfulness, to send away their servant-girl and take upon herself all the home work this step might involve. This, however, Mrs. Morrison opposed, as did Mary : the former, from a latent linger- ing pride of English ' gentility '; the latter, because, unable herself to give any efficient assistance to her sister, she could not bear to see her tasked with daily work, which Susan undertook and performed with an alacrity which in point of fact caused her no such effort as Mary (to whom such details of daily duty were irksome) imagined. Susan's desire to help her mother sug- gested to her another method of doing so ; and being a quick and skilful needlewoman, she presently made it known in the village FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 113 that she would undertake dressmaking of a modest description ; and the ' ladies ' of the neighbourhood, Mrs. Selbourne, Mrs. Norris, Mrs. Curtis, and a few others to whom she was personally and most favour- ably known, as well as many of the neigh- bouring farmers 5 wives, were very glad to employ the industrious little English seam- stress. This source of revenue was a relief to Mrs. Morrison and Mary, and a positive pleasure to Susan herself ; and a further in- crease of their small income was presently obtained from another and quite unexpected quarter. Judge Selbourne and his wife would have made a charming picture of the best Dutch School, one evening, seated on each side of the bright, sparkling, flaming, flickering wood fire in their cheerful parlour, a small table with a lamp near the Judge, who was reading ; while Mrs. Selbourne, with less need for vivid light, pursued with the gentle click and glitter of tiny steel needles her 8 ii 4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO creation of an exceedingly fine, soft, white woollen garment, with a constant succession of which she comforted the breast of her husband, the delicate texture of the fabrics communicating a sense of heart as well as skin warmth, imparted by the dear hands by which they were wrought. 1 That is an eloquent praise of beauty/ said he, laying down the book, and removing his spectacles. ' By whom V asked she. ' A Frenchwoman of genius, who had but a small share of it herself — Madame de Stael.' 6 It has always appeared to me that you set too high a value on good looks, Judge.' 6 On mine or yours, my dear V ' Not on your own, of course ; though/ added she meditatively, ' you might have done that, too.' ' Oh, well, perhaps I did overvalue yours, as it was quite notorious that I married you only because you were so pretty,' said FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 115 he, with a quizzical expression of profound gravity ; ' and I am bound to say I have found it answer.' ' Oh ! I wash and wear well, as we say of our calicoes.' ' Wash ? you certainly do ! and,' con- tinued he imperturbably, i I will do you the justice to say you have not worn thin ; quite the contrary.' This was mischievous of the Judge, who knew his wife deplored the expansion of her once slender shape into the by no means unbecoming propor- tions of her more matronly figure. i You, I know,' pursued he, ' regret this, and I do not, for, as Rosalind asks, can one have too much of a good thing V ' At any rate, the colours are fast.' ' Oh yes ! " 'Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on." ' The Judge knew his Shakespeare by heart, and was fond of quoting it. 8 — 2 n6 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO ' You are only changed for the better, wife, since first I knew you.' A flush of gratified vanity and gratified love flitted over the sweet woman's counte- nance turned towards him, though her only reply was : ' How can you talk such nonsense to an old woman of fifty, Charles V i You are not fifty, but twice twenty-five/ said he. 6 Oh, how pretty !' she exclaimed. 6 Yes, pretty enough to be offered to you, I thought ; but it is not mine — it is French. I sometimes wonder,' he went on, thought- fully tapping the side of his nose with his ivory paper-knife, ' that you women make, upon the whole, such poor use of your divine gift of beauty.' 6 Divine gift ?' ' Yes ! I say it advisedly ; every good and every perfect gift cometh from above ; and is not that good which wins all eyes and hearts for its possessor, at first beholding it V FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 117 ' Well, I'm sure that's not a talent often hid by us in a napkin.' ' No, but neither is it often well employed ; and I think the wise and the foolish among you misuse it alike.' ' How so ?' ' Your foolish virgins and matrons, by making it a subject of ridiculous and con- temptible personal vanity and pride, as if it was self-bestowed, or a wicked worldly instru- ment of seduction and speculation. Of all created things, I do think a beautiful bad woman is the worst. On the other hand, the wise virgins and matrons, the serious- minded, sober-minded, religious as you, and unco guid, as I should say, pretend to ignore the gift entirely — a thing impossible to the possessor of it who looks in her glass, or sees how other people look at her. Next to that, they pretend that it is a worthless gift, which it is not, as the possessor of it feels and finds, every day and all day long ; and, lastly, they pretend that instead of a n8 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO blessing, given by the Giver of all blessings, it is a curse of the devil's, intended merely for the temptation of the owner and a snare to all beholders ; all which seems to me just as silly as it is wrong.' ' And if you had a pretty girl to bring up, how would you manage in this respect ?' ' I would make her beauty a most serious motive for her worthiness ; she should revere it as a trust, and obey it as an obligation. I would try to make her good, because she was beautiful ; and loveable, because she was lovely.' ' What a pity you have not a school of handsome girls to try the experiment upon !' There was a moment's silence ; their child- lessness was the only cloud in the heaven of their happy married life. 1 I am afraid,' resumed Mrs. Selbourne, ' that one of our Greenville beauties is losing her good looks.' ' Mary Morrison ?' ' Yes ; she is very much changed lately. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 119 She used to look like a pale pink tea-rose, and of late she has looked more like a pale straw-coloured one, with those great blue shadows under her eyes too.' ' Her father's death was a heavy blow to her.' ' More so than to Susan ?' ' Yes ; blows fall more heavily on resisting than on yielding surfaces : " The wind that beats the mountain, blows More softly on the open wold, And gently comes the world to those That are cast in a gentle mould." ' ' Oh, it isn't her father's death only !' < What, then ?' 6 I cannot say, but I'm sure there's some other trouble ; Morrison's death must have lessened their means very much.' ' Yes ; but that valiant little soul, Susan, is making up the deficit gallantly.' ' With her needle, poor thing ! I hope she will not overdo that. I don't believe i2o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO her mother looks after her to prevent it. I suspect she's very harsh to them.' 1 How I do pity that woman !' ' What woman V 6 That Englishwoman — Morrison's widow.' ' Then you do for her more than she does for herself, I guess. I never saw a colder countenance than hers ; I'm sure she's hard.' * Perhaps not.' ' Did you ever find her soft ?' said Mrs. Selbourne, laughing. ' Oh, wife, wife, wife !' said the Judge, getting up and leaning his shoulders against the chimney-piece. ' You are a very dear woman ; but you are but a woman, after all. 6 1 expect so,' said she, with the most entire satisfaction. 1 You are like your whole sex : hungry, greedy for exhibition, expression, demon stration, profession, exteriority — to coin a word. The inward and spiritual grace is nothing to you without the outward and FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 121 visible sign ; and you are all of you as hard as poor, dear old mad King Lear, to per- suade that " They are not empty -hearted Whose low sound reverbs no hollowness." ' ' What's the use of tongues, if people don't say what they think ? or hearts, if they won't show what they feel V 6 Those are the very people to be pitied, who can neither say nor show. There are such things as stuttering, stammering, mute, dumb minds and souls, to whom Nature has denied the gift of speech. They are the pitiable ones : the sorrow that cries out relieves itself by its cry ; the sorrow that cannot even groan stifles silently in its im- potency. The wounds that bleed inwardly are the worst, and I declare I have known hearts that seem to me like living palpi- tating creatures shut up in steel bars too tight for them.' * Oh !' said Mrs. Selbourne, with a soft i22 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO sigh, pressing her hand upon her own most tender bosom. The Judge's clerk here brought in a letter, opening and reading which, he thus imparted its contents to his wife : ' Oh ! here's a letter about the new minister. The President of the Hills- borough College says he is sending us a most admirable successor in the ministry to dear old Mr. Edwards ; a burning and a shining light, a guiding example, a powerful persuader, a gifted preacher, a talented writer — evidently a latter-day saint and Methodist " admirable Crichton." Dr. Williamson winds up by Christian compli- ments to both of us, un-Christian dis- believers, or misbelievers, as he holds us to be, and an appeal for our kind assistance to brother Caleb Killigrew, in finding a re- spectable and suitable abode among our people in the village here for him.' ' I'm sure I shan't like him,' said Mrs. Selbourne. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 123 1 Reasonable woman !' ' I like dear Mr. Edwards so much !' ' Reasonable woman !' ' And they can t be like each other, you know.' 1 Reasonable woman !' 1 I'm going to bed/ said she, taking up her candle and work-basket. 1 J°y S° with you !' said the Judge. ' No ; I shall go by myself/ retorted she, laughing. As she reached the door, her husband called her back. - I say, Lizzy !' A thoughtful pause. < Well V 6 Don't you think this pearl of parsons might find suitable quarters, quiet, comfort, and all necessary accommodation, with the Morrisons ? There's a spare room there now that was his business office, and I think the minister's board and lodging- would just come in admirably to prevent i2 4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO any necessity for your favourite Susan work- ing herself to a thread-paper.' ' Now, Judge !' exclaimed his wife, * that is a first-rate notion of yours, and I do love you for it. I declare it's worthy ' 1 Of a reasonable woman,' said he. ' It's real good of you,' she said, and, tapping him on the arm with patronizing approval, resumed her bedward progress, throwing back to her husband a smile as sweet as summer, and leaving him to the contemplation of the uses of beauty, the uses of speech, and the possible uses of Mrs. Morrison's spare room for the accom- modation of the Reverend Caleb Killiorew. CHAPTER XII. The Reverend Caleb Killigrew was neither ugly nor deformed. What he was emphati- cally, was common, but to so uncommon a degree that (but for the paradox) he might have been described as extraordinarily com- mon. His complexion was of a yellowish- white, his hair of a reddish-brown, smooth on his head, and with short whiskers that looked like half strings to it ; his eyes of a greenish-blue, like boiled gooseberries. He stood about five feet seven in his boots ; his figure was ill put together, awkward in repose and clumsy in movement ; he had splay feet, thumbs like shoulders of mutton, hands seldom clean, and nails not seldom 126 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO dirty. His features were not bad, nor their expression repulsive, except when under the influence of any sudden angry emotion, when they assumed the low, malignant, spiteful, savage aspect w^hich the wild cat of his native woods exhibits : the most hideous, hateful, ignoble, and basely fierce of animal countenances. He was without a single grain of that exquisite, indefinable, indescribable essence — tact. He trampled on tendernesses, and handled, or rather mauled, sores ; and for himself, as well as others, rejoiced in a mental and moral epidermis like the hide of a rhinoceros. This helped him to be habitually good- tempered, supported — as, needing no support, it nevertheless was — by an unsoundable depth of self-conceit, and an immeasurable over-estimate of the importance of his clerical position and functions. No Pope ever believed himself more in- fallible ; and Mr. Selbourne, venturing once, in the heat of discussion, to qualify some FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 127 proposition of his as ' silly/ received for sole reply, ' I silly V in such a tone of all but breathless amazement, that the Judge could not recall it for years after without fresh laughter at the intense, immense, involuntary and unconscious conceit it ex- pressed. The eulogistic tone of the letter of intro- duction written to Mr. Selbourne by the Principal of the Hillsborough Calvinistic College was by no means unjustifiable from that dignitary's point of view. Brother Caleb Killigrew was irreproachable in his morals, strict in his conduct, decorous in his manners, a clever writer of flippant and familiar religious articles in a popular sectarian newspaper, and a powerful preacher — in the sense, at any rate, of possessing a powerful voice, the use of which often gave startling effect to the warnings, denuncia- tions and threats of his abundantly wordy (rather than eloquent) prayers, exhortations, and discourses. 128 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO Such was the person who, having driven over in a dirty sulky from the eighteen miles distant Hillsborough Seminary, alighted at the Greenville Tavern, or coftee-house, the red-brick building for the accommoda- tion of travellers in that village, and, leaving his conveyance there, and carrying his valise, followed the directions he received to Mrs. Morrison's cottage, where he arrived while she was busy in her kitchen, Susan in the preparations necessary for his reception in the spare room, and Mary arranging some wild-flowers William Norris had brought in from the woods for her sister. A loud knock at the door drew her from this occu- pation, and on her opening it, Mr. Killigrew immediately entered, and walking straight and uninvited into the sitting-room, deposited his valise on the floor with an uncere- monious — 6 This is Morrison's, I guess, and you are ' 6 Mary Morrison.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 129 ' Oh ! ah ! one of the daughters. Well, Miss Mary, I am the Reverend Caleb Killigrew, and I presume am expected here, as I was given to understand I should be as a boarder in the house/ ' Yes/ said Mary, ' you are ; I will call my mother/ She went to do so, and Mrs. Morrison and Susan, entering simultaneously, found their visitor and future inmate seated in the only rocking-chair, the mother's peculiar seat in the room, having taken up one of the books from the table, and one of the flowers that lay waiting to be put into the water. He did not get up or remove his hat on the entrance of the women, but gave them a friendly nod, and said, throwing down the volume : ' Good, very good ! Glad to find you feed your souls with the like ; somewhat English, though, in tone, and less searching, less pene- trating — well, less spirit-stirring — than what we will give you. Now then, if you'll just 9 i 3 o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO put me into my room ' — here he twisted and threw on the ground the flower he had taken, and resumed his valise — ' I'll take possession without first slaying, ha, ha ! like Ahab and Jezebel in Naboth's lot ; and we shall soon, please the Lord, be friendly and familiar all together.' Susan looked with a surprised smile, Mary with a surprised stare, at the reverend gentleman ; and their mother, making a stiff little English curtsey to the cloth, led him to his quarters, a little relieved of her natural and national shyness by his total want of it, and thinking with satisfaction of the probable ease with which so easy a boarder would receive the simple accommo- dation of her roof and table. The servant-girl, who had been discharged after Morrison's death and Susan's assump- tion of her duties, had been replaced, in ex- pectation of the additional work made neces- sary by the additional inmate, by an Irish girl, whose wild-eyed ignorance of anything FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 131 but hovel life in a bog was taxing all the efforts at education of Mrs. Morrison and Susan to a degree that the whole of her work accomplished by themselves could not have done. The partly-trained ' help/ who had already profited by the orderly system of the Morrison establishment, had been eagerly seized upon, when dismissed thence, by Mrs. Selbourne. The increasing fre- quency of Irish emigration was already be- ginning to make itself felt by the invasion by the children of Erin into the domestic service and the factory labour, till then ac- cepted by American girls without any sense of degradation, but from which they with- drew by degrees entirely, not choosing to endure the companionship of the less intelli- gent, less refined, and less educated element brought into America by their Irish com- petitors. The abundant afternoon meal of the early- dining Greenville people — a substantial one of bread and butter, hot buttered cakes, 9—2 132 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO sweet cakes, crackers, cold meat, grated hung beef, cheese, preserves, pickles, and tea — having been duly honoured by the minister, with occasional commendations and remarks as to the beneficial effect of his drive upon his appetite, was wound up by thanksgiving both for the latter and the supply it had received, and was succeeded by a series of questions as to the worldly con- dition and circumstances of his new family, and their still more private spiritual ones, which were not so easily answered. An early hour brought the time of evening prayer, and the three women, having com- posed themselves reverently for it, were a little dismayed by the clergyman demanding : 6 Where is the girl ? You said you keep a girl, Mrs. Morrison ? I presume you do not worship God without every member of your household joining in that holy prac- tice.' * My girl is Irish, and a Catholic,' replied Mrs. Morrison. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 133 ' A Catholic ? Good heavens ! is it possible ? a member of that abominable Church ! a professor of that idolatrous creed — if creed it can be called — and you do not hesitate to receive such an one into the bosom of your Christian family ! and, having done so, you do not compel her to worship to her soul's salvation in the only true faith ! You deliver her over to Satan without an effort to rescue her from his clutches !' The ministers voice was growing loud. Mary went quickly out of the room, and after a few minutes returned. 6 She will not come ; she says her priest forbids her.' Mr. Killigrew lifted his eyes and hands in horror to the ceiling, and forthwith began his impending devotions, in which the wretched Catholic girl was duly remembered, with holy acrimony ; the error of those who harboured her, with supplications for averted judgment; and mention made of the late lost head of the family, to the effect that the chastening 134 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO dispensation might be made profitable to its members, and incline them to thankfulness for his place being supplied by a spiritual husband and father, to the inestimable benefit of their souls. Mrs. Morrison started at the reference to her husband by name in this prayer ; Susan cried, and Mary winced at it ; but such per- sonal applications were quite frequent in the sectarian practice of that day, and, though painful, perhaps, to some persons, were not either unusual or considered offensive. After this, however, and a vain attempt to induce the recalcitrant Papist to join the family worship, Mrs. Morrison felt herself bound to dismiss her, her daughters and herself performing the whole of the household duties, the Reverend Mr. Killigrew's boot and clothes brushing included ; till Mrs. Selbourne, in a paroxysm of benevolent fury, took the Irish girl into her own household, sending back the Yankee f help 'to the succour of the Morrisons, where she duly formed a member of the family FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 135 gathering at prayers ; at which the minister expressed his satisfaction, and his conviction that the temporary trial had been a spiritual blessing to the hard-working Christian females of the household. William Norris came speedily to pay his respects to the minister who was tempor- arily to supply his grandfather's pulpit, and was abundantly edified by the priestly patronage of that gentleman, who, at the end of the young man s visit, did not so much propose, as propound his determina- tion, to accompany him back to Mr. Edwards'. ' Who, no doubt,' said he, ' will be pleased to see me, and take my views as to the proper religious instruction and govern- ment of a Christian congregation, which I shall be happy to put forth to him.' Mr. Edwards had instructed and guided the Greenville Christians for upwards of twenty years, but received his brother in the faith with the gentle courtesy inherent 136 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO in his nature and cultivated in his daily practice, expressing his thankfulness that so able an official should have been deputed in his place, and his conviction that the com- munity could not but profit greatly by the exchange of Brother Killigrew's powerful (this was the epithet always applied to the Reverend Caleb) influence, as contrasted with his own feeble efforts, ' which lately,' he added, with touching humility, ' have, I fear, lost the little force they ever may have possessed by the gradual failing of my health. The spirit, you know, honoured and dear brother, is willing, but the flesh is weak.' ' True — very true,' replied the robust Killigrew ; i and it has been, no doubt, an appointed trial to you, my good sir, to find yourself failing in mind and body, for which, questionless, you have been duly grateful. To fall below my appointed duties, and be wanting in my highest obligations, is an experience, I am thankful to say, I am hitherto unacquainted with.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 137 i Long may you be so, my dear sir !' murmured the invalid. ' Long may others derive benefit from your vigorous ministry !' 6 Amen f said the other, without a shadow of doubt in his tone that it would be so, and could not be otherwise. ' You have, I rather think,' he continued, ' a special element of difficulty hereabouts, in the residence in your midst of some un- christian individuals — a disbelieving doctor and a misbelieving judge.' ' The latter is an excellent friend of mine ' ' And a most excellent man,' softly inter- posed William Norris, to whom the authori- tative condemnation of the new minister, though carrying undoubted weight, was nevertheless painful. ' Young man !' sternly exclaimed the master and pastor, in whose favour we reverse the professional titles, ' who do you presume to pronounce excellent ? Miserable sinner, that you must confess yourself; 138 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO miserable sinners, that we all confess our- selves — mere worms of earthly corruption — excellent ! I fear you are as yet in the gall of bitterness to apply such a term to the professedly unregenerate members of a latitudinarian creed. But doubtless you have been misled by your grandfather's unhappy — shall I say unholy ? — partiality for such persons ; and you may be shown the scandal and the error of such ways.' William Norris left the room ; Mr. Edwards gave a deep sigh, expressive of physical and moral exhaustion ; and Mr. Killigrew, having evidently made as painful an impression on him as possible of his failure in public and private duty, wound up his visit by saying : ' A sad, a very sad consequence, I fear, my dear brother, of your own lax princi- ples with regard to Christian companionship and community of spirit. Farewell ! I am sorry not to be able to improve our present meeting longer ; but I will come again, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 139 never fear — I will come again. Meantime, I leave these toothsome crumbs of Christian comfort for the nourishment of Christian souls.' So saying, he placed on the table a parcel of tracts and a copy of the Hillsborough Warner, and left the room, banging the door and that of the house consecutively, so as to shake it and the invalid both to their foundations. The Reverend Caleb Killigrew had started with a determination to invade the abodes of those whom he considered his only adversaries in his pious crusade of Greenville regeneration, and made direct for Dr. Moore's house. The door, upon which he gave a loud knock, not being opened, but, in fact, like most doors in the village, open, he proceeded towards another which stood ajar, and entered the small room where Dr. Moore stood, evidently in the act of sallying forth, but stopped, with some ill- concealed annoyance, by the intrusion. i 4 o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 6 Are you come/ said he, in his usual rapid, sharp utterance, 'for immediate advice and assistance ? Because, though I am just going out, I will stop a moment to hear what you have to say.' ' I am come to give, not to receive, advice and assistance,' replied the visitor ; ' to impart medicine for your immortal soul, not to ask it for my perishable body.' ' Oh !' said the doctor, making for the door, ' another time, if you please.' ' Now is the appointed time ; now is the day of salvation.' ' May be so ; but the time is ten o'clock, and the day of my appointment Tuesday. I have something else to attend to.' ' Let me leave these with you, at least, for the convenient season, if it be ever mercifully vouchsafed to you.' The doctor snatched from the hands that pressed them upon him two tracts and the paper, and read : ' " Green grass for sheep that have wandered from the fold." I am FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 141 not herbivorous/ said he. i " The last whistle ; hurry up, or the train will be gone." And I'm never late for the train/ said he ; and, letting the religious newspaper fall, without even looking at it, he left the room with a quick ' Thank you. Good- morning, good-morning. I don't read that sort of thing.' The minister stood aghast, with his mouth open, and, slowly picking up the newspaper and his rejected tracts from the floor, de- parted — mentally shaking the dust of that unhallowed habitation from his feet — and turned towards the residence of Mr. Sel- bourne, with undiminished determination in his purpose, and expectation of success in its fulfilment. Mr. Selbourne was a deservedly dis- tinguished son of a deservedly distinguished father, who had been a member of his own State Legislature, and conspicuous alike for the integrity and ability with which he dis- charged the duties of his office. His other 142 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO sons were men of mark, high in the ranks of the New York and Albany Bars ; their sister, the authoress of several charming works of fiction, was universally known and admired for the merit of her literary produc- tions. The name of the whole family was synonymous, wherever it was heard, with moral and intellectual superiority ; and the kindly, cordial, gracious and graceful hospi- tality with which Mr. and Mrs. Selbourne welcomed all visitors to their enchanting mountain region had given an additional charm of delightful social intercourse* to that of the picturesque beauty of Green- ville. Their own country -people took pride in bringing foreigners of distinction to their abode in their remote village ; and these strangers returned to their European cities with an experience of refined manners and mental cultivation such as would have honoured, and been honoured by, the best society of the most civilized capital, with FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 143 the added charm of the purest morality and noblest simplicity of life. Mr. Selbourne himself, though invariably addressed by his legal title by his title- loving folk, had withdrawn from the exercise of his profession from a disinclination to practise it, an almost morbid shrinking from any form of publicity, and a passionate love for his own home among the mountains and valleys of his native district. With his pre- ference for it over all other places of resi- dence his wife heartily sympathized ; and among the inhabitants he commanded a sentiment of respectful regard as nearly akin to reverence as was compatible with the Yankee character and the habitual familiarity of intercourse — which in this instance belied the proverb and did not breed contempt. But the angel of this world, Reverence, had never laid his admonishing touch upon the Reverend Caleb Killigrew, who, undis- mayed by the remotest misgiving as to his own superiority over these very superior i 4 4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO people, now approached the Selbourne house. Mrs. Selbourne had once, early in her married life, met with an experience a little similar to that with which she was now un- consciously threatened. Soon after she came to her home in Greenville, one day when her husband was absent, she answered her- self a knock at the door, and was rather sur- prised by the immediate entrance of two men, whose dusty and heated appearance indicated travelling on foot in the public road at noonday. Of course, any demand for charity was not to be dreamed of, that being altogether impossible in the rural New England of those days ; so, ushering her un- known visitors into her parlour, she asked them what their business might be, and if in the Judge's absence she could be of any use to them. One of them, with constant re- petition of the last words of his sentences by the other, then explained that they were engaged in a religious work, having under- FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 145 taken a journey on foot for the purpose of calling as they went along at the various houses they passed, to pray, and praise God with their inmates ; to exhort, to arouse, to awaken, and, in short, fulfil an Apostolic duty of Christian wayfaring through the district. They deplored the absence of the Judg^e, but thought the Judge's wife micrht benefit by their zeal ; and giving one another a preparatory glance and push, simulta- neously uplifted their voices in a Methodist hymn w^hich prolonged itself through five verses, at the conclusion of which one after the other put up prayers and petitions of considerable length and fervour, and then prepared to take their departure, having fulfilled their edifying mission. Mrs. Sel- bourne begged them to stay a moment, and, hurrying from the room, returned presently, followed by a servant with cake and wine on a tray, of which she begged them to partake, thanking them at the same time for their call, of the kind motive of which she ex- 10 146 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO pressed herself convinced. The peripatetic preachers and teachers very readily accepted the welcome refreshment, and departed, leaving the provider of it not, perhaps, much edified, but not much surprised either, at an incident which was quite in accordance with the religious spirit and manners of the day. Since then, she had never received any similar visit ; and the influence of Mr. Edwards, whose natural refinement was rather opposed to some of these exhibitions of the devotional zeal of his Methodist and Baptist fellow-Christians, had enabled him to protect her from like pious inroads of his brethren. He did not think her or her husband good subjects for such ministrations, nor, as his daily intercourse with them tended to convince him, did he, in spite of all his sectarian prejudices, believe they stood in need of them. Mr. Killigrew had not, however, con- sulted him on the matter, and now inquired if Judge Selbourne was at home. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 147 'No.' ' Then Mrs. Selbourne V ' Yes.' Mrs. Selbourne was in, and just then in the act of writing to a very dear and distant sister, which occupation she put aside with quick courtesy as soon as her visitor entered, giving him her immediate attention, with a gentle inquiry in her countenance as to the purport of the visit. 6 I am Mr. Killigrew,' said that gentleman, seating himself before she could well invite him to do so ; ' the new minister ; and I am come to warn you to flee from the devil and escape from the wrath to come.' Mrs. Selbourne gave a little jump on her chair, and finding no words adequate to her need, he proceeded : ' I am aware that I may be considered rather sudden, but I am a messenger, not of any earthly king, but a messenger of the King of kings, and I must deliver His message.' 6 1 am afraid you may not be aware,' said 10—2 148 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO Mrs. Selbourne, ' that my husband and my- self are not members of your congrega- tion?' ' Oh yes, I am — I am ; and that is the very reason that brings me here.' * We attend your church services/ she added. ' Oh yes, I know — I know ; and that's my very motive for calling on you. You frequent, as you say, our sanctified house of prayer; you join yourself to our congregation; you inhabit this village, where our religious opinions are those of the majority ; and whatever may have been the practice of my worthy predecessor here in charge, mine will be to extend to you, as well as to the orthodox, the benefits of our holy convic- tions and the profit of my ministry.' ' I hope I have not been without benefit from that of my dear, kind, pious friend, Mr. Edwards.' 6 Possibly not ; though, I fear, I cannot say probably. Your mutual intercourse might, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 149 by the grace of Heaven, perhaps, have benefited yourself, madam, and Judge Sel- bourne ; but it could hardly be beneficial to my dear brother Edwards, in whom, indeed, a tendency to relaxing in the faith, per- adventure not amounting to positive back- sliding, might ' Mrs. Selbourne was about to speak. Mr. Killigrew raised his loud voice louder, and she remained silent : 1 1 say, might have — I do not, as I ought perhaps to say, has — been the deplorable consequence.' ' I think, I trust, no evil can have resulted to any of us from our happy intercourse with each other.' 6 Perhaps not to your apprehension ; and no doubt it was a pleasure, of a sort, to brother Edwards ; it is natural that those who feel there is little likelihood of their meeting hereafter should cultivate agree- able acquaintanceship here.' Mrs. Selbourne was left to her own con- iSo FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO elusions as to the inevitable separation be- tween themselves and their friend of so many years of earthly intercourse when that should cease. Her visitor s next observa- tion was a sharp thrust in a very tender place. 6 You have no children, I think V She crossed her arms tightly over her breast as she said : f No ; God has seen best to deny us that blessing.' ' Best, best, undoubtedly I should say/ with a condescending approval of Divine providence. At this moment, to the poor lady's in- expressible relief, this hard-fisted searching of her private sorrow was interrupted by her husband's voice from the doorstep. Mr. Killigrew, without any ceremony, left the room to encounter him as he entered his house ; they met in the small passage, and Mr. Selbourne, courteously saluting the minister, was about to re-usher him into the FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 151 parlour, which ceremony the other declined, saying : 6 1 have already done my duty there, and am only concerned with a word to yourself, and it is this : Sir, have you religion V Mr. Selbourne, taken by surprise in the middle of his house passage by the grotesque abruptness of the question, did not, however, lose his presence of mind, but, with his sweet semi-satirical smile, replied : ' None to talk of.' ' Ah ! I thought so ; so much the worse , for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Now, I could no more hold my peace on this matter than I could fly.' ' I dare say not.' ' I understand, Judge, you are a literary character ?' ' I think,' replied the Judge, still smiling, 6 you must be mistaking me for my sister, who has written some rather popular books.' ' Ah ! to be sure ; well, it's all one ; it runs in the family ' — one would have thought he 152 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO spoke of some disease. * But I presume you read books, if you do not write any V ' Yes, occasionally.' 1 Well, I've left inside some literature which I think will gratify you ; there are some precious soul-awakening tracts, and, in the newspaper, a piece of my own on the approaching Presidential election.' At this moment Dr. Moore made his appearance, and stopped on the threshold with a most comical grimace at the sight of the couple in religious conference inside. He came in, and appeared to be going towards the sitting-room, but stopped, as the minister went on : ' At this time, you know, men's minds are all taken up with election matters, so I have written a piece which I think will please you, exhorting each one to make his own calling and election sure.' 6 Ah !' said the doctor, ' the reason why you folks believe in that doctrine of election is because you think you will all be electors.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 153 He passed on, but not without hearing Mr. Killigrew, on whose face the cat-like expression was now beginning to make itself apparent, exclaim : 6 Scorning and scoffing, and unseemly jest- ing !' Then turning to Mr. Selbourne : ' Evil communications ' but the doctor, whose ears were sharp, with his hand on the door of the parlour, exclaimed : * Is worth two in a bush ! and a bird in the hand corrupts good manners f with which ludicrous mixture of the two proverbs he disappeared, leaving Mr. Selbourne in a burst of laughter, and the minister in one of wrath ; in which, with the cat-like expression fully developed, he hastily left the house. The doctor's familiarity with the premises had enabled him to leave them without re- turning to the front entrance ; and Mr. Sel- bourne, when he went, still laughing, into his wife's sitting-room, found her in a state of perturbation most unusual to her sweet, serene, habitual composure. i 5 4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO ' Where's the doctor ?' ' Oh, gone out by the garden-door ; he came to speak about poor sick Mrs. Rainger, and the soup he wishes me to send to her ; but, Charles, it is impossible, impossible !' ' Few things are impossible, but is the soup one of them V ' Oh no, no ; but to sit under that man for six months !' ' It will be unpleasant to be sat upon by him so long, certainly.' ' Oh, what a face !' ' He didn't make himself, or he'd have been prettier.' ' And what a voice !' ' Nor that either ; and everyone hasn't been blessed with such a sweet one as yours.' Mrs. Selbourne had the charm, unusual among her countrywomen, of a melodious voice. 6 We must take out old Dobbin and the waggon, and go up to Gordontown to church.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 155 6 No, I think we must not, dear Lizzy.' 1 Oh ! why ¥ ' Because, if we did, we should hurt and distress dear old Mr. Edwards ; we should hurt and distress the Butlers and the Walkers, and several more of our good neighbours, and, what I think even more of, we should hurt and distress poor old Dobbin.' ' I declare I'd rather go to the Catholic church in Breezetown.' i What ! and say your prayers in Latin V ' Yes ! in Greek, or Hebrew, or all the unknown tongues ; besides, you could trans- late it for me ; and Father O'Grady is a kind Christian man, and I could listen to his preaching, even if I had to say my prayers in Latin.' ' Do you remember who, when the sermon is bad, takes the text and preaches patience ?' ' Yes ; but we can't expect such a favour as that for six months running.' ' No ; heavenly sermons for six months would be too much to expect ; but, after all, 156 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO six months, even of bad ones, can be borne. Very poor preaching is better than most men's practice, my dear, and in six months we shall have Willy Norris back, duly qualified, and with youth to give energy to the spirit of his grandfather, which I think he inherits in all its sweetness/ ' Oh, I have no patience !' ' No, my dear, and how poor are they who have not patience !' 6 Oh, don't quote Shakespeare at me, Judge.' ■ My lay Bible, the best of all profane books, if it may be so called without pro- fanity ; but come, wife, you have the resource of the jelly, you know.' Mrs. Selbourne put her hand before her husband's mouth, exclaiming : ' I do declare, Judge, you are a real tease !' and, sitting down, she seized her knitting, and clicked the steel needles vehemently, with an expression half between crying and laughing. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 157 6 The resource of the jelly.' — One Satur- day in the past summer Mrs. Selbourne had exercised her culinary skill, which was of no common order, in the production of some very delicate jelly, for the entertainment of some friends who were to take tea with her. This jelly was an experiment with her ; she had never executed it before, and, with ex- treme anxiety as to its flavour, colour, and consistency, had at length succeeded in placing the tenderly trembling, translucent form of elegant refreshment before her guests. But the emotion caused by the effort survived its success, and manifested itself on the following day, Sunday, to her no small mortification and her husband's no small merriment. The day was hot and drowsy; Mrs. Selbourne was also hot and drowsy, and had sunk into the corner of her pew in an attitude of decorous slumber. The Reverend Mr. Edwards, drawing to the conclusion of a description of the short-lived prosperity of the wicked, its unsure founda- 158 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO tion and insecure edifice, exclaimed : ' It shakes, it totters, it falls f Mrs. Selbourne heard the words through her nap, and started from sleep, exclaiming : ' The jelly !' Her neighbours noted with a smile the good lady's sudden start from her religious repose ; her husband alone heard the exclamation, with which he had never since failed to twit her, with what she thought (as in the present instance) absolute cruelty. CHAPTER XIII. A religious revival now broke forth throughout the village and the neighbour- hood under the zealous activity of the new minister. Prayer-meetings and meetings for psalm-singing, and experience meetings and exhortation meetings took place almost every evening at one house or another, always presided over by Mr. Killigrew, who, accompanied by William Norris, into whom he infused some of his own energetic zeal, paid a round of constantly recurring domi- ciliary visits among his parishioners, which contrasted favourably, in the opinion of many of them, with the rarer calls of his predecessor. 160 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO A searching inquisition into family matters ; a decided encouragement of sensational con- versions, of holy interest to those who ex- perienced and described them, and their hearers ; a general excitement, taking the place of a wholesomer element of recreation, too much wanting in the popular existence, produced a pleasurable sensation of unusual vitality, and raised the personal popularity of their preacher, whose vulgar familiarity in his treatment of sacred subjects in no way offended those to whom he addressed himself. All these results of the new dispensation were not very agreeable to Mr. Selbourne, who did not think them decided improve- ments, either to the religion or morality of his neighbours, and who, moreover, depre- cated, as a probable cause of deterioration in both, the opening of a camp-meeting in the close vicinity of the village, which drew, by the strong appeal of devotional excitement, constant visitors from the whole neighbour- FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 161 ing district, whose coming and going gave the assemblage the air of a fair or rustic junketing — a picnic on a large scale, with the curious combination of open-air eating and drinking, praying, preaching, and psalm- singing, added to the more effective interest furnished by the occupants of the ' anxious benches,' the hysterical cries and ejaculations of their vehement devotions, and the equally vehement appeals and exhortations ad- dressed to them by the Reverend Caleb Killigrew and his assistants. William Norris was one of these, joining in Scripture-reading, and occasional exhorta- tion and praying, his yet not fully fledged clerical authority. Mrs. Morrison was not otherwise than pleased with the importance she derived from the minister's residence with her, and saw, with decided approba- tion, William Norris's fellowship with him in the good work of regeneration. Susan, whose now generally understood impending engagement with the young future minister 11 162 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO gave her a right to personal interest in all that concerned him, followed his labours with tender sympathy. Mary withdrew, as much as she could, from any share in the general excitement, and became by so doing a mark for general observation, a subject of painful solicitude to her mother, sister, and sister s lover, and an object of frequent ill- judged and most distasteful remonstrances on the part of Mr. Killigrew. Poor Mary, in whose faded cheeks and dark, undershadowed eyes Mrs. Selbourne's womanly instinct had detected more trouble than the sorrow of her father's death, felt herself gradually isolated from those with whom she lived, and went about among them with a heavy heart and dejected spirit. The growing closer intimacy between her sister and young Norris had placed Susan between Mary and him, and him between her and Susan. Was she jealous of one, or both ? Did the greater distance between the three hitherto undivided hearts strain FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 163 upon the strings of hers with a constant weary, aching tension ? Was there occa- sionally a sharper pang of anguish, of which she herself was unable or unwilling to ac- knowledge the cause, but which Mrs. Sel- bourne's quick feminine insight had pene- trated ? And was a deep sentiment which she struggled against, without yet detecting its precise nature, rendering doubly detest- able to her the very evident admiration of their clerical inmate, and his incessant endeavours at familiar intercourse with, and religious influence over, her ? Poor Mary ! her excitable, irritable, highly-strung nervous temperament was ill- fitted to contend with so much difficulty ; and her faded beauty bore witness to the struggle of her daily life ; while a temper at once morbidly sensitive and wilfully capricious, suddenly resentful of quite unin- tentional offences on the part of her sister and Norris, haughtily and contemptuously repulsive towards Killigrew, and sullenly 11 — 2 1 64 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO depressed into gloomy silence by her mother's observations and interrogations, rendered their home intercourse painful and troublesome to all of them. Poor Mary ! the wise tenderness of the father who lay in the village burial-ground might have sustained her in this trial of her whole moral strength ; of that nearer and dearer Father, whose arms of everlasting love were under her, she had hitherto thought but little. William Norris's departure for Hills- borough was drawing near, and before leav- ing Greenville for some months, he proposed to Susan that they should spend one day in the beautiful woods of the East Mountain, for his farewell to the dear valley of the Green Water. Mary, of course, accompanied them, though much inclined to turn back at their very starting, when Mr. Killigrew pre- sented himself. 6 Going up to the mountain, are you ? Well, I don't care if I go along.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 165 None of the party were much pleased with this addition to their number, but not even Mary, whose countenance bore unmis- takable token of her displeasure, could find courage directly to oppose the proposal. They set forth ; the day was one of ex- treme, almost overpowering, heat ; the air simmered in trembling vapour along the fences, and the sun blazed upon the meadows, whose fragrant surface ofave forth under their footsteps the tepid perfume of its warm flowery grasses. Their path led our excursionists by the riverside, whose rapid current and sparkling ripples suggested re- freshment, as they slowly followed its clear course towards the woods, the shelter of which seemed to them like Paradise to souls newly escaped from purgatory. Their foot- steps on the moist mossy forest path, and under the exquisite shadows of its leafy covert, became slower and slower, as they climbed their upward way, sitting down re- peatedly for protracted rest upon masses of 166 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO rock, covered with thick, starry, dark-green cushions of moss, where they remained in silent enjoyment of their temporary repose. William and Susan, though naturally en- grossed with each other and their own feel- ings, were not sufficiently so to throw Mary out of their conversation, into which she repeatedly made nervous inroads of appeal and observation, in endeavouring to escape the unwelcome tete-a-tete which the minister- vainly tried to force upon her, by probing inquiries into her spiritual experiences, from which she shrank, and equally unwelcome revelations of his own. The process of de- fending herself and repelling him was gradu- ally becoming a labour, ill-adapted to render the physical exertion of their walk lighter ; and it was with a sense of inexpressible relief that she reached the summit of the hill, the end of their climb, the place ap- pointed for their long rest and mid-day re- freshment, before returning in the afternoon to the village. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 167 William Norris waited naturally on Susan, and, in order to do so more effectu- ally, or from some more lover-like motive, knelt as he presented her with the con- tents of their frugal luncheon-basket. Mr. Killigrew followed the example in his service to Mary, in whom, however, this devotional attitude, instead of awakening the gentle acknowledgment of Susan's sweet smile, only excited displeasure, and who scowled with evident dislike of the implied homage, and felt an all but irresistible impulse to thrust her clumsily awkward and un- welcome attendant, with a push of her foot, backwards down the declivity at the top of which they were seated. The growing irri- tation which she found it all but impossible to restrain or conceal had a physical cause, to which her organization was always pecu- liarly sensitive. The heat, which affected her to an exceptional degree, had in it now a decided premonition of electric disturb- ance ; and a thunderstorm — which long 168 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO before it gave visible or audible signs of its approach was detected by her in a subtle atmospheric influence of painful oppression — was beginning to act, as it never failed to do, upon her susceptible nervous system. Meantime, the place where they rested gradually attracted their admiring observa- tion. They had seated themselves on the edge of an open space, under the shadow of beautiful trees that sheltered them from the heat, while the clear bit of meadow favoured the slight breezes of the mountain-top which stirred their woodland screen. A charcoal heap in the middle of the clearing accounted for the absence of its forest crown, while the abrupt declivity that led down from the denuded summit was thickly clothed with trees, over which they gazed delightedly on the lovely prospect that stretched far below and beyond the great mountain slopes, with their skirts of waving woodland. Susan and Norris repeatedly expressed their sense of the beauty of the FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 169 scene, to which, familiar with it as they were, their hearts, in tune with its peaceful influence, responded. Killigrew attempted to improve the occasion oratorically, but they did not pay very undivided atten- tion to his eloquence ; and Mary suddenly broke in upon his laboured enumeration of the objects before their eyes with a jarring note of discord. 6 I see one thing in all this neither lovely nor blessed ;' and her eyes had singled out and were resting upon the one solitary object that marred the general smiling beauty by which they were surrounded. One tall fir-tree, near where they sat, white like a skeleton, and with white, out- stretched skeleton arms, rose from the midst of the fresh verdure, the evident victim of some angry thunderbolt, that had broken and splintered the head higher than all its forest fellows, torn and stripped into falling, withered tatters its bark, the inside of which showed red streaks, not unlike blood- 170 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO stains, and caused its limbs to stretch them- selves abroad in attitudes of helpless resist- ance to the fierce fiery doom by which they had been scathed, On this one image of desolation the desolate girl had fixed her eyes, and, merely saying, ' That looks neither very lovely nor very blessed/ rose and turned to go down the mountain. The others did so also, and they plunged again into the woodland path, the steep irregu- larities of which, and frequent interruptions by blocks of stone and fallen trunks of trees, rendered Norris's assistance to Susan natural and welcome ; while Mary, all but resentfully shrinking from the minister s in- cessantly proffered help, avoided with rapid agility the occasions of accepting it. She almost ran as she endeavoured to escape from his assiduities, which, indeed, were so awkwardly ineffectual that, while clutching her elbow by way of supporting her, he re- peatedly missed his own clumsy footing, and was on the point of making her stumble FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 171 and of falling himself. Mary's nervous ex- asperation had become such that, on reaching the bottom of the mountain, she peremptorily desired that he would not approach her any more. Their path now lay along the course of a wild brook — in winter a furious torrent, but in summer only a rushing stream of rapid current, presenting a succession of deep dark pools, amber shallows with silver ripples, and curtains of thick glassy smooth- ness pouring themselves down over mimic precipices into rocky basins, ten and twelve feet lower, in boiling masses of furry, snow- white foam, that flung their crystal spray and rejoicing sound above their leap and swift onward course. In the very middle of one of these small Niagaras, a block of stone of some size stood securely poised, though rocked by the incessant impulse of the water, the churning white waves of which dashed in a perpetual furious onset against the rock fortress. The top of this stone had been 172 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO hollowed by previous water-wear, and had received in the course of time a bed of earth of sufficient depth to afford soil for the growth of a magnificent sheaf of crimson cardinal-flowers, w^hose splendid deep-red colour, contrasting with its dark pedestal and the snowy water flashing all round it, presented an object of singular wild beauty. The pedestrians halted on the brink of the brook, in contemplation of it : Susan and Norris silently ; the minister, incapable of silence, appealing in louder tones than usual, to drown the musical voices of the stream, to Mary for her approbation, and receiving for only reply : 6 It looks to me like a torch-fire — hell- fire — that you are so fond of preaching about,' with which answer she again turned from him and pursued her way, followed by the others, and utterly regardless of his remonstrances. They now entered the wood w r hich led to the river, and there stopped once more to FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 173 admire another beautiful apparition of the red cardinal-flowers, of which a sort of natural garland had planted itself irregularly round a small pond of clear water, the middle of which reflected the tints of the evening sky, while all round its edge the close-grow- ing woodland threw a frame of soft shadow, in which the crimson blossoms shone like drops of coral set in ebony : ' Oh f exclaimed Susan, ' they look like jewels ' — ' or drops of blood,' added Mary ; and passing on, preceded them to the plank bridge over the river, where she stopped, looking into the rapid stream. Norris stepped upon the elastic plank, which sprang so as to render some support in traversing it desirable ; and with one hand on. the rustic rail, which afforded it, led Susan, with the other, across the water. Mr. Killigrew offered the same assistance to Mary, who, disregarding it, crossed her arms over her breast, and walked with haughty independence to the middle of the bridge, i 7 4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO where she again stopped to look down into the rapid river, over which she bent in an attitude of almost dangerous longing ; then, putting aside the minister's outstretched hand, she joined her sister, saying : 6 Oh, wouldn't you like to go down into that water and float away, where it deepens to dark-green round the rocks, and so on to the thirty-feet foaming fall at Watertown, and be carried out to sea — far, far from everything and everybody !' ' No, indeed,' answered Susan, with a shudder and a laugh ; ' I should not like to leave Greenville, and the Green Water, and our valley and village, and mother and you, and — all,' was her sudden substitute for the ' Willy ' that was on her lips. ' Oh, how glad I should be to leave them all !' muttered Mary, with her head bowed on her breast. Presently she stopped at the path that turned towards Mumbett's cottage, and said : ' I am going down here to see Mumbett.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 175 * And I will go with you, Miss Mary/ said Killigrew. She turned and faced him. ' No, you will not ; I have promised to visit her the first time I passed by, and I wish to do so alone.' 6 I shall wait for you, then, till your visit is done.' ' If you do, you will wait all night, for I will not come out while you remain there.' She then fairly ran down the cottage path, and abruptly entered it, shutting the door behind her. Susan drew herself closer to her lover, whose arm she had taken, and who now ad- dressed the minister with an expostulatory — 1 Best leave a wilful woman to her own will, minister. A thunderstorm is just coming on, and I guess she will stop where she is till it is over, and then come home ; or, if not, I will come back for her.' Whether or not, Mary's last rebuff had almost persuaded the Reverend Caleb that 176 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO she really did not desire his company, and actually slightly scratched the surface of his Ajax's sevenfold shield of self-complacency, he turned from the path, and followed the young people to the village with a very cat- like expression at Mary's repulse and Norris's advice. The threatening storm had now drawn all its heavy omens round the valley ; the middle sky had gradually become dark with a cloud, the colour, and almost the texture, of which resembled an opaque pall of the heaviest black velvet. On the horizon on one side, a row of dust-coloured and chalky-white vapours had gathered, through the latter of which an incessant play of veiled lightning gave a strange effect of huge masses of opal. The whole valley had assumed a livid leaden tinge, except in one spot, where a lurid re- flection repeated a long streak of dusky red, which, stretching below the darkest portion of the sky, looked as if the day was bleed- ing to death behind and beneath that dense FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 177 blackness. Mary, exhausted with her walk, the heat, the oppression of the atmosphere, and the intolerable fellowship she had endured, threw herself on the low bed of the Indian woman, and tearing open her dress at the throat and breast, and pushing her hair wildly from her forehead, lay with her hands clasped above her head, gasping and speechless. Mumbett approached her : ' Are you ill, Mary V ' Oh, the thunder is all on the top of my head, and prevents me from breathing, but it is not that.' ' What is it, then, if you are not ill ? Are you unhappy ?' ' Yes, yes; miserable,' cried the girl, c with misery unbearable !' ' Can I help you ? Is it hate or love V 6 Loathing, idolatry — both.' ' I can give you a love-charm ; look, here is honey and fresh rose-leaves, and a white butterfly.' ' No, no — oh no !' wailed Mary. 12 178 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 1 1 can give you a charm for hate/ and she uncovered a dark jar, at the bottom of which a black snake was writhing, and on one side of which a hideous black spider, covered thick with black parasites, was crawling. Mary gave a faint shriek at the horrid materials for the witch's incantations. ( Oh !' she said, ' you cannot help me; these cannot help me ; nobody, nothing can help me.' The Indian woman came and sat down by the bed on her cabin-floor, and by some intuitive suggestion of magnetism — not magic — stroked the girl's arm gently as it lay on the pallet, and in a low monotone, which was soothing like the repeated gesture, said : ' Listen to me ; I have charms of your own Christian folk that may help you. When my people left the Green Valley, and went off to the Oneida tribe, I came back here for love of a Christian priest ; not one of those that have come since — a Catholic FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 179 they called him, and he belonged to a mission, sent by his Church to make my people Catholic. He taught me something of his belief, and I grew to love him, so that I came back all the way from New York State and my tribe to seek him and see and hear him again ; but he was gone ; his chief priest had called for him back over the Great Water, and the company of his religious brethren went away, and have never re- turned. But he gave me two of their charms, and here is one that I have always worn.' She opened her dress, and showed Mary a Catholic medallion of the Virgin and Child, resting on her brown breast. ' This woman,' she said, ' is the mother of this Child, your God ; and this,' she said, producing a small iron crucifix, ' is the Child grown to a man, and tortured to death by wicked enemies. My teacher said this could cure all sin and comfort all sorrow, and I will give this to you. The Mary mother I will wear till I die, and it shall be buried with me.' 12—2 180 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO Mary sat suddenly up, and, seizing the crucifix, said : i Yes, yes, he told you true ; give it me f and, bowing her head over the image of Divine supreme sorrow, she melted into a flood of tears that burst from her relieved heart like saving waters from the rock, and bathed the blessed feet as those of the re- pentant sinner of the holy record did of yore. At this moment the leaden vault of the sky, that was pressing almost to suffocation on the atmosphere, was split asunder, and vomited a terrific glare of lightning that blazed over the whole valley, piercing through every crack and cranny of the Indian cottage, while a simultaneous burst of tremendous thunder appeared to shake the earth on which it stood. The two women, accus- tomed as they were to the violent storms of their electrical climate, started to their feet and stood in speechless awe at the appalling sight and sound. And now, with a shrill FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 181 shriek, a furious blast of wind rushed down from the mountains, and tearing up and driving before it the dust and gravel of the road, seized upon the trees on each side of it, bowing and bending their tops with its invisible hands. The great children of the forest writhed under its grasp, and whirled and twisted their hurtling arms in a wild struggle with their terrible unseen adver- sary ; which, tearing from them broken branches, boughs, twigs, blossoms, clinging creepers, and their leafy crowns, fled howling, strewing with its spoils the earth beneath them. There was a moment of profound silence — silence as of sudden death, in which the tempest seemed gathering strength for its renewal ; and presently ' heaven's artillery, thundering in the skies/ resumed the ele- mental war. The whole air quivered with incessant blue light ; strings of white light- ning, two and three in close parallel, ran in rapid zigzags round the horizon ; while every 182 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO few minutes a crooked bolt of fire leaped from the sky down into the forest depths, which rolled and tumbled like the surface of an angry sea. Every spike of an enclosing palisade near the cottage was tipped with lambent flame, and sudden sheets of pale-coloured lilac flickered over the ground, from the surface of which they appeared to be exhaled ; while the rebounding and resounding reverberations of the thunder sounded like the rolling and hurling to and fro of the rocky masses scattered over the mountain-sides, in some gigantic sport of the wood demons. This terrific uproar lasted but a short time, and then the floods of heaven encountered its fires, and were victorious in the strife. A heavy deluge — masses, as they seemed, of water — fell from the sky with a violence that, at a short distance, made them look like a solid black wall of slanting iron, before which the storm retreated, like some savage animal, with glances of angry but paler glare and FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 183 muttered growlings, into the surrounding forest. Mumbett threw open her cottage door and window, while Mary, in a sort of dithy- rambic ecstasy, walked to and fro, her arms cast up above her head, her lips parted, and her nostrils wide, inhaling in great draughts the refreshment that the rain was pouring down upon the earth, and under which she was reviving, like the whole material creation. The storm was over ; the woods rocked gently, shaking off in heavy minute drops the tears of its final weeping with the sobs and sighs of its exhaustion, and the whole valley sent up the delicious fragrance of its celestial breath. The road but lately a run- ning stream of turbid yellow, began to show its hard level surface, as the water ebbed off to the ditches on either side, and the only sound was now that of the rushing river, which was receiving in its course a hundred rills, grown to impetuous torrents, from every hillside. 184 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 6 I must go home/ said Mary, still hold- ing the iron crucifix. ' Let me tie that round your neck/ said the Indian, and, taking a knife, she prepared to cut a strip from a dried snake-skin, similar to the one that encircled her own throat with the Catholic medallion. 6 No, not with that dreadful thing f said Mary, and with the knife she cut from the lining of her dress a slender, but extremely strong, black silk cord, and passing it through the loop at the head of the crucifix, sat down on the bedside, to enable Mumbett to fasten it round her neck. This the old woman did, muttering charms of her own, with such a knot as no mere fingers of flesh would ever again untie, nor anything but sharp edge of knife or scissors detach from the young girl's throat. Mary took leave o* her old hostess, who watched her along the road till the twinkling earth- stars of the village houses answered the appearance of FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 185 the stars of heaven, which were mustering their shining bands, and setting their nightly watch in the clear spaces of the now serene sky. CHAPTER XIV. Mary had left open the collar of her dress, to receive, as she went home, the fresh air, which she breathed with a sense of inexpress- ible physical relief ; but the ' loathing ' and the ' loving ' both weighed heavily on her heart, as, while she walked, she uncon- sciously pressed her hand to the crucifix, saying in a low voice : ' For sin and for sorrow ; yes, help for both !' On her entrance to her home her mother met her, to inquire if she had escaped entirely from the storm ; but her words of maternal anxiety were arrested on her lips at the sight of the holy symbol, pointing to which she only said : FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 187 1 What have you got there ? Where did you get that ¥ Mary, without replying to the combined aversion and censure expressed by the ex- clamation, hastily buttoned her dress at her throat, concealing the object of her mothers antipathy, and merely saying, i Mumbett gave it me ; my feet are very wet,' passed on to take off her shoes. Nothing more was said that evening upon the subject, but the next morning, from the peculiar pointed personal reference to herself in the minister's supplications, she could not but feel certain that some communication had passed between him and her mother about it, as well as to her antagonistic demeanour during their previous day's walk. Indignant at what seemed to her their combined condemnation, and angry at its expression, in a worship in which she was herself expected to join, she left the room as the others sat down to breakfast, and withdrew to the kitchen, where, with flashing eyes and cheeks, 188 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO heightened in colour by the angry blood throbbing in them, she seized a piece of bread and glass of water, on which whole- somely unstimulating diet she made her solitary breakfast. Her resentment was very visible in her countenance as she left the room, and was the subject of deploring disapprobation on the part of her mother and the minister. Susan sought her sister in the room they occupied together, and though far from thinking ill of the prayer put up for (if one might not rather say, against) her, tried to soothe her displeasure by her tender demonstrations of affection. Mr. Killigrew's sentiments towards Mary had now become of a very complicated nature. He was powerfully attracted by the un- common personal beauty of the young woman; an attraction which he could not withstand, though he by no means admitted it to him- self, believing that he felt compelled by a strong sense of his religious duty to make every endeavour to rescue her from the FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 189 demoniacal influence to which he now seriously thought she was given over. Pre- dominant, however, over his love (if such it could be called) for her person and his fear for her soul, was certainly the domineering element — the desire for power inherent in his own nature, and fostered to excess by his clerical pretensions. ' What a Christian I could make of that girl !' he frequently exclaimed in talking of her to her mother, whose disposition, easily led by any stronger will than her own, adopted the minister's view of Mary's character, and was not without vague sus- picions of his double interest in her daughter, which flattered her religious prepossessions in favour of the cloth, and seemed to suggest the possibility of Mary's redeeming her own matrimonial derogation by an alliance more in accordance with the prejudices of her birth and education as a minister's daughter. Mary, on the other hand, entertained no such visions ; her original disagreeable im- i 9 o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO pression of Mr. Killigrew had grown into absolute aversion under a consciousness, such as no woman escapes, of the feeling with which he regarded her, engrossed as her own thoughts were with a sentiment for another, calculated to protect her by its increasing strength from any other impression. The next morning, after her resentful retreat from the breakfast-table, the minister s prayers were, as might have been expected, not less calculated to irritate and offend her ; but to his surprise, and that of her mother and sister, she appeared at the end of their devotions with a perfectly placid countenance and composed demeanour, on which Mr. Killigrew^ expressed his unbounded approba- tion and satisfaction, attributing this favour- able result to the irresistible effect *of the supplications he had offered up for the soften- ing of heavenly grace upon her stubborn will and hardened heart. ' I did not hear your prayers/ said she, with perfect composure. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 191 ' You did not hear them V said he, quite unconscious of having prayed less loudly than usual, which indeed he had not, but, on the contrary, with a more fervent exertion of his ' powerful ' voice. 1 No,' she replied ; ' I did not hear your prayers, because I stopped my ears.' Mr. Killigrew, Mrs. Morrison and Susan gave a simultaneous start of horror at this announcement, which Mary followed by saying in a perfectly quiet tone of voice, as she left the room : ' I wished to say my own prayers in peace.' In the course of the evening, her mother, quite unable to refrain from again approach- ing the subject of her irritation and annoy- ance, very injudiciously renewed the discus- sion, by requesting Mary to take from her neck the offending crucifix, which the black cord round her throat showed that she still wore, though the image itself was hidden by her dress. 192 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 6 Are you not afraid to wear that dreadful thing/ the minister here broke in, ' given you by an accursed heathen witch, who, in the better, earlier days of the colonies, would have been given over to flame and fagot V 6 1 do not think she is quite a heathen/ said Mary ; i and I am sure she is not bad.' 1 What is she, if not heathen ? Was she ever baptized V 6 1 do not know/ ' If she was baptized a Catholic, what is she but a miserable idolater, as she has proved by giving you that abominable idola- trous symbol of an abominable idolatrous creed V 6 1 think she does right, as well as she knows how. I think she acts up to her lights, such as they are.' ' Yes/ said her mother ; ' farthing rush- lights/ borrowing her contemptuous com- parison from her early English household economies. ' Swamp-fires of Satan to draw her soul FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 193 and yours into everlasting perdition. Will you not obey your mother's demand, and take the abomination from your neck V Mary put up her hand ; not, however, to remove, but to retain, the crucifix. ' Then,' went on the minister, ' I command you to remove it, and my command you will surely not resist.' Mary still showed no sign of submission. He approached her, extending his hand with an evident intention of detaching the cord from her neck. ' How dare you ! how dare you !' she gasped, suddenly starting up ; but trembling so violently that she was obliged to sit down again as suddenly by Susan, whose flower- soft hands now encircled her sister's throat with a vain endeavour to ( untie the knot with which the cord was fastened. 1 " How dare you " to the minister !' faltered her horrified mother. ' " How dare you " to me f shouted he ; ' unfortunate, misguided, wretched girl ! 13 i 9 4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO Lost, however, I am determined you shall not be, if effort of mine can save you.' Mary withstood, however, the pelting of the pitiless spiritual storm that was now poured out, like vials of wrath, upon her, and withdrew to her bed, where, with the sacred symbol of Divine compassion on her breast, and Susan's tender arms of sisterly love round her, she subsided at last into rest, under the soft wings of night and sleep. At the end of the following week Norris was to depart. Mr. Killigrew had spent much exhortation in preparing him, as he conceived, for doing so fitly ; among other means, by inducing him to take part in the services of the meeting-house, in joining (he would not have used the term c assisting' ) in the duties of the pulpit, so far as reading the Scriptures and praying alternately with himself. The struggle, which had broken out into almost open rebellion, in the Morrison household, now suggested to him an effort on the part of the young man, from which FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 195 he hoped some effect might be produced on his future sister-in-law ; who evidently did not resist William's influence, as he was re- sentfully obliged to confess that she did his own. Overcome by Killigrew's 'powerful* arguments and exhortations, Norris at length consented to follow the advice, which took almost the authoritative tone of the absolute command of a superior, as to the fulfilment of an imperative duty ; submitted, conquered his reluctant unwillingness, and promised to take a part in the farewell services of the Sunday preceding his de- parture, in accordance with the minister's suggestion. The probability of his doing this, which was rather expected in the village, filled the church even more than usual, and more than usually early. Mr. and Mrs. Selbourne, who felt a friendly interest in their young future pastor, were in their accustomed place, and Mrs. Morrison and her daughters in theirs, listening with mingled feelings of devotion and personal 13—2 196 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO regard to the service. The discourse of Mr. Killigrew ended, all eyes rested on William Norris, as he rose to utter the final prayer. He did so with all the fervour that the oc- casion inspired, and with a voice trembling with emotion invoked blessings upon his congregation, his neighbours, his friends, his reverend grandfather, their former, and his respected successor their present, pastor, who stood by his side in the pulpit, with lips closely compressed, and eyes steadfastly fixed on the seat of the Morrisons. Presently, with a perceptible increase of tremor and a w T ailing tone of fervent supplication, William Norris pronounced the name of Mary, but his prayerful entreaty in behalf of that beloved and erring sister's soul was inter- rupted by a wild scream of laughter which broke from her, followed by violent hysterical sobs. Mr. Selbourne, inexpressibly shocked, drew her from her seat, and all but carried her out of the church, followed by Susan ; who, with eyes wide and cheeks blanched FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 197 with dismay, received her sister from him, and led and supported her home, still utter- ing her alternate bursts of laughter and crying, which she found it impossible to control. Mr. Selbourne returned to his place to find the prayer finished, and the young minister so exhausted by the terrible effort it had cost him, that he had sunk upon his knees with his forehead bathed in perspiration ; while Mrs. Morrison, almost fascinated by the intense feeling with which she had followed his supplication for her child, stood rigidly immovable, her fingers all but indenting the wood of the pew which she grasped, while her eyes never left Norris's face ; and the i Amen f with which she responded to his prayer, though spoken in a low voice, was heard throughout the church, in the forcible distinctness of its utterance. A scene such as this was very uncommon, though the incident that gave rise to it was by no means so. Prayers and supplications for individual members of 198 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO a congregation, not for the relief of their sorrows, trials, and afflictions, but for their sins, errors, religious shortcomings, or back- slidings, were quite frequent ; and neither particularly resented by the persons thus pointed out to their neighbours' implied condemnation, nor disapproved of by the latter. Mary's mode of receiving this devout distinction was the only circumstance which made it in any way remarkable to the rest of the community ; and the comments which this drew forth in the village circle rather indicated the necessity which was considered apparent for the discipline. ' Mary was strange, self-willed, headstrong, a thorn in the side of her mother, her sister, William Norris, and that good man, the minister, who had wrestled with her stubborn stiff- neckedness in vain.' In short, the public prayer for her conversion to grace was decidedly approved of by the public opinion of Greenville. Mary, who rightly attributed the pain and mortification she had endured FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 199 from it to Killigrew's influence over Norris, repaid the former with an increased feeling of aversion. On the day preceding his departure, Norris came to take leave of the Morrisons, and finding Susan alone, adverted to Mary's out- break of feeling in church. Her sister excused her, with all her love for her, but, with all her love for William, expressed her approval of what he had done, and besought him, with tearful eyes, to seek Mary, and be reconciled to her before he went away. Mary was not at home at the beginning of his visit, but reached the threshold of the room while he was still with her sister, whose entreaty, ' Do find her ; do not go without seeing her once more !' ended by their hands and lips meeting, in the farewell of troth- plighted lovers. Mary thrust her handker- chief into her mouth to choke the cry that would have escaped from her, and, unseen by either of them, took refuge in her own room ; where, throwing herself on the bed, 2oo FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO she buried her head in the pillow, to stifle the bitter weeping which shook her whole frame, and of which no sound was to be suffered to escape her. Suddenly a voice — her mother's voice — made itself heard, and she became aware that the door between her mothers room and that of Susan and herself was standing open, and from it was issuing a cry of such piteous distress as arrested at once her breathless attention and her passion- ate tears. ' O my God, have mercy on my wretched child ! forgive her wickedness, pardon her sinfulness, change the desperate hardness of her heart, take from her the accursed spirit of pride, rebellion and disobedience, with which the devil has possessed her ; give her not over to Satan. Have mercy, Lord, have mercy ! spare my miserable child ! suffer her not to become a castaway, the daughter of the Evil One, condemned to everlasting perdition and the pains of hell for ever.' Mary heard no more ; the unfortunate FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 201 girl fled from the house with her heart almost breaking with its burden of intolerable misery, the smart of unrequited love, the weight of a mother's reprobation. CHAPTER XV. William Norms walked slowly from the door. As he passed the window, he saw dimly within the room Susan's face, yet wet with tears, and he went on determined, if possible, to dry those tears, which smote upon his own heart, and restore peace to that sweet sisterly bosom, where every gentle affection of woman's nature seemed to dwell in its gentlest form. But where to seek Mary, and, when found, how to accost her ? Her manner had of late become so altered, so strange, so moody and capricious to all, so fall of asperity or coldness to him, that he knew not, even if he found her, how he should begin the mission which he had FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 203 undertaken. He went on, however, full of the spirit which gives words when the hour for speaking comes, dwelling much upon the singular change which had come over the temper and disposition of the young girl ; more upon the gloom which had of late fallen upon the once happy home of the sisters ; but most of all upon the hope of restoring tranquillity and peace to that beloved one, whose faltering voice and tearful eyes had stirred within him the very springs of love, and revealed to him in its full extent the depth and power of the feeling for Susan which had grown with his growth, and strengthened with his strength, ever since his childhood. As he pondered thus, he slowly ascended the hill behind the cottage, upon which the evening sun was pouring its parting splendour. The golden light yet lingered over the valley, and crept up the hillsides till it met the shadows of the mountains and their deep woods. The har- monious outline of the distant hills mixed 2o 4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO [ __ its solemn purple tint with the soft evening red : the great rocky mass known as Monu- ment Mountain stood out with its battle- ments of precipices relieved against the sunset sky, and far-off Taconoch rose on the horizon like a distinct but distant dream. How full of peace were the thoughts of the young pastor as his glance wandered over the beautiful scene ! how filled his eyes with tears of sweet emotion ! how overflowed his heart with gratitude to God and tenderness towards all things living * How full of the spirit of blessing and of hopeful prayer he became as his gaze descended from the sky to the humble roofs, half buried in thick foliage, beneath which dwelt those souls soon to be committed to his holiest care ! how quickly beat his heart and deeply heaved his breast as he ascended the gently- swelling slope of the hill under which lay the dwelling of his Susan s mother : ' Mine ! would to Heaven that she were mine, indeed !' half uttered aloud the lover. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 205 ' To live in this Paradise with her, daily to worship Thee better and love her more ! my God ! the thought is presumptuous in its excess of happiness. To wish for such an existence is to hope for heaven on earth.' He pressed his hand to his eyes, as if to shut out the wishes which he almost feared to entertain, and pursued his path up the sloping meadow which led to the skirts of the wood, and to the remarkable formation of the mountain of the Ice-hole and its deep gorge, where Norris and the two girls had been used to wander, exploring its rugged rock chambers, while they were yet happy children together. There in later years used the young divine to go, pondering deeply in solitude the important task of his future life. Thither in her unrest had Mary more than once strayed, climbing alone the steep and dangerous paths, lying down in the dark shelters formed by the overhanging masses of rock, her hands clasped round some cold stone, her tears falling upon the 2o6 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO soft moss that pillowed her head. Here would she lie, brooding over the feeling that was gradually overmastering her, recalling every word, every look, every gesture of William's with a fatal accuracy that stamped yet deeper in her heart the image she strove to banish from it. Thrice happy when her contemplations were such alone ; when the fiend of jealousy forbore to visit her in her solitude ; when to the form of Norris, for ever present to her, was not joined that of Susan, innocently and confidingly leaning upon him, while his eyes would express for her a love to obtain one slightest token of which Mary would have given her life. Then would the lonely girl start from her rocky bed, calling upon Susan s name with incoherent prayers, entreaties, and wild re- proaches, until, exhausted, she would fall down again upon her moss pillow, and lie motionless and almost senseless there. Then would the gentle spirits of nature shower on her their holy ministry, pitying FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 207 the passion of the self-tormented human soul ; then would the sweet evening wind breathe softly its cool kisses on her throb- bing brows, and sing over her its soothing lullaby ; then would the overarching trees wave their green branches gently above her, whispering compassionately to each other of her woe ; then would the serene evening-star come out in heaven, and look mildly down through the shaggy forest depths on the prostrate creature, who, calmed by these holy influences, would sink at length into slumber, which was, for awhile, forgetful- ness. Waking, she would feel the beneficent influence which sleep had had upon her, and with a heart numbed and a brow bent with their untimely weight of pain, come down from her savage hiding-place, and steal through the twilight to that home — no longer dear — to the bed she shared with that sister — no longer the beloved friend of her bosom — and await in troubled dreams the dawning of another day of struggle and sorrow. 2o8 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO To • this wild retreat Norris now pro- ceeded in search of her. His own feelings had engrossed him so entirely for the last few moments that he had almost forgotten the difficulty of the task he had undertaken ; when, however, his mind reverted to it, the holy influences which had just been poured into his own heart seemed to him sufficient to enable him to appeal successfully to hers, and with kindliest compassion and affection for the sister of his youth, he went forward through the rocky glen, calling aloud on ' Mary, dear Mary !' to answer him. To- wards the middle of the chaos of rocks and trees a large mass of stone, resting upon several rocky pinnacles, reared itself high and isolated in the midst of the tangled wilder- ness ; fantastic roots of huge trees, like monstrous bird-claws, clung into its sides, and a thick carpet of starry moss, feathery fern, and exquisitely delicate wild-flowers covered its surface. Though difficult and even dangerous of access, this was Mary's FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 209 most frequent haunt ; the wildness of all around, the dark depths that yawned be- neath her on every side, the canopy of inter- woven boughs high overshadowing the glen below, through the green screen of which the sunlight played fitfully with the shadows as the wind stirred it ; the distant view of the smiling land and peaceful hills, seen through the rugged vista of the ravine, would have rendered this place the most desirable for one whose soul was alive to the beauties of nature ; but Mary sought it for its wildness, its difficult access, its certain loneliness. Here she was lying, with moss- roots and fern-leaves scattered around her, bearing witness to the feverish destructive activity of her emotions, her hair loosened and falling on her neck, her eyes red with recent tears, and her heart dead within her, when she heard William's call : 1 Mary, dear Mary ; ' answer me. Where are you V That voice shot through every vein. She 14 2io FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO sprang up, and, trembling with a thousand indefinite feelings, stood for a moment wildly staring, her hands pressed to her heart to still its beating, her head bent eagerly for- ward to listen. Again the call, and now footsteps, crashing among the fallen boughs, were heard approaching. Mary turned to fly yet deeper among the rocks ; on one side alone could she descend from her steep place of refuge. She crept- hurriedly to- wards where the rock shelved down, and having reached the path — if such it could be called — which was only another block of isolated stone, was about to plunge down into one of the caves (or rather holes) beneath, when William's hand on her arm arrested her. She struggled, and endea- voured to free herself. 1 Let me go — let me go !' she exclaimed in a husky, breathless tone ; but Norris, placing his arm round her waist, drew her gently but forcibly from the edge of the rock. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 2n ' Do not struggle so, Mary. I will not hold you any longer if you will promise only to listen to me one moment. Come away from that place. Sit down here. You are trembling so, you cannot stand. I will only lead you to a safer spot, and then I will let you go if you wish.' She muttered unintelligibly words which he could not distinguish, and with eager, shaking finders endeavoured to detach his hand from her waist. For a moment, as though to satisfy her, he unclasped his hold ; she tottered, and would have fallen, when, once more resuming his grasp of her, he led, or rather carried her, to a safer place, and, seating her on a rock, sat down beside her. ' Listen to me, Mary. I am come to fetch you home. Do not, I beseech you, attempt to leave me. Hear me for your mother's sake ; for your own sake — for God's sake — hear me !' Mary, who had once more sprung up as 14—2 212 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO he began to speak, sank down again, appar- ently conquered by his entreaties, and cover- ing her face with her hands, sat silent. He went on : i What has happened, Mary ? What has befallen you to turn your spirit from good and your heart from happiness ? Come home ; the evening is falling ; your mother is in distress for you — she bade me seek you and bring you back ; she is almost worn out with anxiety. Alas ! you are making her old age very sad, and poor Susan ' A pang, as though of a sharp knife, ran through Mary's heart. She raised her head, and a bitter smile gleamed in her face, as she said : 1 Did she send you for me V 6 Yes ; she, and your mother, and my own heart, all sent me to seek you. Do not look in that strange, scornful way, dear Mary. What is it that has destroyed all our peace ? Tell me, my sister, am I no longer your friend ? Have you forgotten FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 213 all our happy intercourse, the blessed love of our childhood, the sweet friendship of our youth ] What curse has fallen upon us all? What evil angel has come among US V She turned suddenly round ; she seized his hands, and grasped them tightly in her own. ' You !' her eyes blazed upon him. ' You !' at length she gasped — ' you are the curse, you are the evil angel ; you have destroyed our happiness — you, who are drinking up my very heart's blood ! Must I yet speak ? — must I yet utter more ? Yes, I will ; for what is shame, or death, or everlasting fire, to this torture ? I love you, William ; not with a sister's love, not with a friend's — I love you as you love Susan, not me. O God ! not me, not me !' Her voice was choked with sobs, and for a moment no sound w^as heard in that strange solitude but the waitings that burst from her heart. 2i 4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO And how felt William ? Like one who, in the midst of a garden of roses, should see the earth gape to its centre before his feet. He sat motionless, almost breathless ; a deadly paleness and burning flush by turns overspread his countenance. At length, with infinite effort, he recalled his bewildered senses, and rose, and turned as though to depart. She seized his arm. 1 You are going away — you are going to tell them — to tell my mother, and Susan, and all of them. You will shame me, you will trample on me before them all ; or, per- haps, 7 added she, her voice breaking into a fierce, frightful laugh, ' you will pray for me ; you, who have been the cause of this, will go up to your Sabbath seat to pray in your pulpit, aloud before all the people, for the writhing worm you have crushed under your feet !' ' Mary/ at length interrupted William, his voice and whole frame shaken with ter- rible emotion, ' hush these wild, these wicked FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 215 words. I will tell no one of you ; the merci- ful God — who hears and sees and pities us, and whom I do pray to help and comfort you — alone, for me, will ever know what you have uttered. Nor will I torment you longer even with my sight. I will go away where you shall never hear of me — away from home, from my mother, and ' Susan was on his lips, but fortunately the word died away in the bitterness of the thought, and he did not speak it. ' You will go away,' said Mary, in a tone of utter despair : ' you can leave your mother, and your home, and Susan ' (she spoke the word with slow composure) — ' you can leave all, forego all, lose all for ever, but you cannot love me.' She threw herself on the earth, and lay with her head buried in her hands. Un- speakably shocked, William knew not what to do ; his tongue clove to the roof of his mouth, his voice died away as he attempted to speak. At length he endeavoured to 216 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO raise her, but at his touch she shuddered as though it had been infectious. 4 Do not touch me, do not lay your hand upon me. I will get up, I will go home, I will do anything if you will go away. Do not look at me ; do not let me see your eyes again.' 6 Mary, I will not come near you ; but I lare not leave you here alone.' ' I will get up, I will go home, indeed I will ; but go from me, for pity's sake, or my senses will forsake me.' 6 Will you indeed leave this frightful place ?' She nodded impatiently, and vehemently waved him away. He turned from her, and with unsteady steps descended the ravine. An hour afterwards, as he yet stood by its entrance watching, full of hor- rible fears and anticipations of evil, he saw her white dress glimmering through the rocks. As she wound down between them she passed by him ; her dress almost blew FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 217 in the night air against him, though she did not see him ; her face, as he indistinctly saw it for an instant, looked stony and sharp and white, like that of the dead. She ran swiftly by him, and he saw her follow through the dim fields her path homeward. He drew one heavy sigh, and slowly, and with falter- ing feet and a bewildered mind, stumbled to his own home. CHAPTEE XVI. The next day William Norris went to Hills- borough ; and the day after that Mary announced her determination to leave Green- ville, and go to Gordonton, to take employ- ment in one of the great cotton mills there. Gordonton and its vicinity were beginning to rival Lowell in the number and import- ance of its great factories, and the population of women (chiefly young girls) that it em- ployed. The men of the district, occupied in the cultivation of their farms, and their wives in the management of their families and households, had no desire to seek any such employment ; but the farmers' young daughters were very willing to earn con- FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 219 siderable wages in an industry which was not as distasteful to them as domestic ser- vice, and which was then exclusively in the hands of American managers and the Ameri- can girls they employed — all of them respect- able in conduct, intelligent, and, to a certain degree, educated. It was in those days that the Lowell factory girls came out to a Fourth of July celebration, in a procession two miles long, with parasols to protect their com- plexions from the sun. Moreover, it was in those days that a newspaper and magazine, of far from contemptible literary pretension, were started and maintained by the money and mental contributions of the young factory women. Mary's proposal to adopt this employment had been made at an early date after her father's death, when the resources of her mother had been seriously diminished by that event ; but Mrs. Morrison, partly from pride and English recollections of Manches- ter mills and their population, and not un- 22o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO natural reluctance to let her daughter become a member of such a class, had opposed the measure so strongly that the idea had been relinquished. Now, however, that she under- stood better the respectable character of the Gordonton Mills, and the generally unex- ceptionable conduct of the young women employed at them, her objections no longer stood on the same ground ; but the favour- able alteration in their circumstances pro- duced by Susan's dressmaking, and the minister's residence with them, seemed to render such a step on Mary's part unneces- sary, and, therefore, undesirable. Mary, however, could now no longer endure her life at home ; her feeling for Norris, and Killigrew's for herself, had so troubled her days of late, and produced in her such a restless impatience of her Green- ville existence, that she had determined to exchange it for one absolutely different. Gordonton was but six miles distant from her home ; but it was the county town, a FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 221 centre of city activity compared with the completely rural life of the sequestered village, every inch of ground surrounding which had become wearisomely familiar to her ; and her determination to place herself in new circumstances and surroundings was so positively expressed, that all opposition appeared fruitless. She was of age, able, both legally and morally, to choose her own course in this respect ; Norris had a cousin a few years older than herself, who had left Greenville and entered one of the Gor- donton factories, and there seemed no reason- able objection to her carrying out the plan she had formed for the relief of her own mind and spirits. Susan thought tbe change good for her sister ; and though feeling that she should miss her daily companionship, had lately found it difficult to meet Mary's ever-varying moods with sympathy ; and, besides, had interests and feelings of her own which filled her thoughts, and about which she was reticent. She thought 222 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO Mary's life too restricted in interest for her, and that the stir of the busy animated county town would be beneficial as well as pleasant for her. Mrs. Morrison perceived a determination on the part of her youngest daughter which she at once felt she could not successfully oppose ; but she called in the assistance of Killigrew, by which she hoped to do so. Her expectation, however, was not fulfilled ; the minister indeed brought to bear upon Mary all his powers of dis- suasion (persuasion he had none), but they only served to increase her desire to escape from the authority he assumed, and the influence he desired to assume over her. His opposition to her plan was one of her strongest motives for adhering to it, and so her resolution prevailed, and he retreated from the contest with his personal and priestly pride mortified, his growing desire for her presence defeated, and a very dis- agreeable mixture of disappointment and bitter resentment at her resistance to his will. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 223 It was settled that Mary should become a fellow-boarder with Lucy Rainger, in the house of a connection in Gordonton ; and that with her she should visit her family at Greenville at least once a week, prob- ably on a Sunday, when the mills were closed, and when, if she chose, she could join her mother and Susan in their attend- ance at Mr. Killigrew's meeting-house. By these means Mary protected herself success- fully from the assiduities of the minister, whom she only met at their mid-day meal between services, having contrived to secure more acceptable escort than his back to Gordonton, on the very few occasions when she came to Greenville without Lucy Rain- ger. Killigrew's desire for her companion- ship and conversion were alike defeated by this arrangement, and his resentment was quite in proportion to his value for both, as he saw Mary thus escaping from his influ- ence, to a degree that inflamed his passion, and irritated his pride. William Norris's 224 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO visits to Greenville were few and far between ; they seldom occurred so as to occasion any meeting between Mary and himself, and when such an encounter did take place, a simple handshake, followed by her almost immediate retreat from the room, and ab- sence while he remained, was all the com- munication that passed between them. His stay was necessarily short, and, after going to see his mother, he came to Susan, whose attention and interest were so exclusively absorbed by him, that her sister's altered deportment towards him hardly attracted her attention ; he, who better understood the cause of it, had every reason to desire that it should remain unknown to her. Late in the winter he was called down to Greenville to attend the burial of his aged grandfather, Mr. Edwards. The peace- ful life had ended with a peaceful death. Farewell blessings were on the gentle lips of him who had loved blessing more than cursing, and who was clothed with blessings FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 225 as with a garment ; and the serene, sweet beauty of his countenance, in its sleep of death, was eloquent with the exhortation, to those who looked on it, so to live that even so they might die. This event brought Mary and Norris once more into communion with each other. Lucy Rainger, who had come down from Gordonton with Mary to the funeral, was obliged to remain in Greenville at her mother s for the night ; and Mary, not choosing to do so, would therefore have to return alone, or find some other companion back to Gordonton. Mr. Killigrew eagerly seized the opportunity to press his own services upon her, which Mary, however, peremptorily declined. The afternoon was drawing on ; her return was necessary. William Norris was about to take his de- parture for Hillsborough, without having dared to ask Mary to let him drive her as far as Gordonton on his way ; when, upon her mother s assent to the ministers ex- 15 226 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO pressed determination of getting out the sleigh and taking Mary up to Gordonton himself, she turned suddenly to William, saying ; ' I will not go with him ; you shall take me back.' William, embarrassed, and yet rejoiced, by this renewal of their former friendly re- lations, expressed his readiness to do so ; and immediately taking leave of Susan and her mother, Mary quickly seated herself in the sleigh, and started from the door with Norris, who drove away, leaving Mr. Killi- grew exasperated with disappointment and mortification. It was almost evening, and evening towards the end of winter, when all its more disagreeable features and almost its greatest severity still prevailed. The cold was intense, the frost bitter, the mountains and valleys buried in snow, the road hard as iron beneath the frost-bound, slippery sur- face, the sky dull and dark with the threat FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 227 of a fresh snowfall. The sleigh, in which Norris had driven down from Hillsborough, had been sufficiently provided with wraps and coverings to protect him from the cold ; but in the hurry in which Mary insisted upon departing, so as to avoid Mr. Killi- grew's escort, she had not clothed herself warmly enough, nor allowed time for suffi- cient additional coverings to be put into the sleigh. The distance to Gordonton, however, was but six miles, and the warm young blood in her own and William's veins seemed likely to resist the pinching atmo- sphere till their arrival there. But the road was, every inch of it, uphill ; the snow, which had gradually evaporated or been blown in places from its surface, no longer allowed the sleigh to glide with smooth swiftness over it ; and very soon after they left Greenville the snow began to fall, and the daylight all but disappeared before the approach of night and the thickening of the dense atmosphere. They went on till 15—2 228 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO it became difficult to determine which was their better course — to persevere in their attempt to reach Gordonton, or return by the more rapid road downhill to Green- ville. Mary resisted Norris's proposal to return at first, but before long became feebler in her opposition, and made no answer, when he said : ' We had better not try the steep Walker's hill ; we had better go back to Greenville by the east road ; it is the shortest, and downhill all the way.' So saying, and without any reply on her part, he turned out of the main road into one where he thought their progress would be easier. In this, however, though at first successful, he had gone but half-way back when their difficulties increased formidably. The snow, less beaten, because less travelled than on the main road, was sufficiently deep and hard to bear the sleigh in places ; but at others the treacherous surface broke FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 229 under the horse's hoofs, letting him and the sleigh into a depth of two or three feet, out of which the animal struggled with the utmost difficulty. The muffled tramp of the horse's feet, and even the jingling of the bells at its collar, became all but inaudible ; and the gradually accumulating surface, which was growing thicker and thicker as the addition of every minute fell upon it from the sky, which was now one whirling white curtain of blinding flakes, rendered it all but im- possible for Norris to see the road or guide the horse, to whose instinct he almost help- lessly resigned their progress. The dark course of a mountain stream, along which their road lay, and which, though frozen over, had afforded some guidance by its contrast with its white banks, was now hidden by the fallen cover- ing, under which the whole world was being muffled, stifled, smothered, and obliterated. Norris began to be seriously apprehensive 230 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO about Mary, who had ceased to speak, and was leaning heavily against him, either from faintness or the approach of that dangerous somnolency which is apt to lull those who are overpowered by it before it delivers them over to the deeper sleep of death. In extreme anxiety he laid his companion in the hay at the bottom of the sleigh, cover- ing her over with everything it contained, and taking off his own cloak to add to her protection ; then, jumping out of the vehicle, he seized the horse's bridle, the animal having now all but ceased to draw it, and hoping by dragging him forward to continue their progress, while he kept him- self, by the exertion of so doing, from being overcome by the cold. The effort, how- ever, proved unavailing ; he was blinded, as was the horse, by the mist of snow, with the thick fur of which they were now covered from head to foot. They stumbled along in still deepening drifts of it, and William thought with despair of the pro- FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 231 bability of their being compelled to pass the night exposed to the terrible inclemency of the weather. Suddenly a light, shining dimly through the dense falling atmosphere, indicated the neighbourhood of some human dwelling ; and Norris, calling aloud for help, left the sleigh, which the horse had drawn into a heavy drift, and waded towards the friendly beacon, which, to his inexpressible relief, he found was shining in Mumbett's cottage. His repeated calls and knocking brought the old woman to their rescue ; and the path to her door having been kept clear of all but the recently fallen snow, he, with her vigorous help, carried Mary, now pei- fectly insensible, into the cottage, where, utterly exhausted himself with exertion and anxiety, he fell upon the floor in front of the fire almost as powerless as the girl in his arms. The heat of the cottage itself — where, besides an iron stove, whose thin worn sides were in places red hot, a blazing 232 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO fire of logs was burning in the chimney — at first affected him with dizziness, on his transition from the outer air, with its twenty degrees below zero. Mumbett, whose nightly potations were contained in a tin pot on the hearth, seized it, and, all but forcing it between his clenched teeth, administered the hot drink, a powerful draught of all but raw brandy. Revived by this stimulant, he now began with her to chafe Mary's hands and feet and temples, till a slight sensation of warmth made itself felt in the extremities, and Mumbett, saying, ' It will do, it will do ; she will recover,' took the girl from him, and lifting her in her arms, laid her, still absolutely unconscious, on her own bed. Norris, whom her potent dram, and the heat of the cabin, and the fatigue and exposure of their drive, had now completely overcome, had fallen prone on the floor in a sleep as perfectly unconscious as the insensi- bility of Mary. Mumbett, seeing that any attempt to rouse him would be ineffectual, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 233 raised him from the ground, and partly dragging, partly carrying, lifted him on the edge of the bed, and laid him, utterly help- less, by the side of Mary, throwing over them both the blankets and coverlet be- stowed upon her by the charity of Mrs. Selbourne. She proceeded to replenish the stove and make up a blazing fire on the hearth, having done which, she recruited her own energies with a draught of her elixir vitse, and left the cabin, locking the door and taking the key with her. Her next care was for the horse, still standing in the snowdrift, and unfastening him from the sleigh, which she abandoned in the road, and out of which she seized a huge armful of hay and the buffalo robe left in it, she led the unresisting animal into her cowshed. In this shanty, warmed by the cottage chimney, against which it was built, and the vital heat of the two animals now sheltered in it, she found suffi- cient protection from the external atmo- 234 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO sphere ; and shaking down her bed of hay, and wrapping herself in the thick buffalo skin between the creatures, whose warmth communicated itself to her, she presently slept soundly ; and all was silent and motion- less without, save the still-falling snow, and every now and then the sound of its heavy masses softly sliding from the gradually overladen and downbending branches of the forest trees. CHAPTEK XVII. The next morning opened with one of those scenes of silver splendour that occur but once or twice in a winter, even in the Northern States, and are remembered and referred to as marking a specific date in its course. The snow had melted into rain, and then, as morning drew on, frozen again, and at sunrise every bough, branch, twig, or even blade of grass, and the great tree- trunks themselves, were cased in transparent ice ; the whole world was clad in crystal, and the sun's beams, broken into myriads of diamonds, shone through and over a sparkling iridescent universe ; the sky stretched a canopy of radiant sapphire over 236 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO it, and every hollow in the snow piled upon the earth was lined with the azure of the glacier's deepest clefts. The forest clashed its branches like those of metallic trees, the snow tinkled as its frozen morsels were struck, and here and there the great weight of their glassy limbs broke down huge glittering masses from the trees, and strewed the earth with piles of crystal boughs, sur- rounded by a far-flung floor of crystal rain- bows shivered to fragments. The scene was indescribably beautiful, and even so thought Caleb Killigrew, though not in general very easily impressed by the natural beauties of the seasons. His anxiety, as well as less amiable emotions, had been aw 7 akened on the subject of Mary's evening drive with Norris to Gordonton ; and though both her mother and Susan had ex- pressed their conviction that, if overtaken by the snow, Mary would have sought and found shelter in some of the wayside habi- tations of the residents between Gordonton FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 237 and Greenville (not contemplating the pos- sibility of her having turned back by the east road), the minister had directed his morning walk towards the Indian cottage, in a vague hope of hearing some tidings of Mary. He reached Mumbett's abode at the moment when, emerging, to his surprise, from the cowshed, she prepared to unlock her cabin door ; and, throwing it open, ex- posed to his amazed eyes the sleeping group on her pallet. The young man's arm was flung over his companion, but with this exception neither of them had stirred since the Indian had laid them side by side ; they were still sunk in perfect insensibility, either the uncon- sciousness of the profoundest slumber, or the still deeper trance of suspended anima- tion. Mr. Killigrew was not one of those who think no evil ; he strode to the bed and called Norris, roughly shaking him by the shoulder. The latter, thus suddenly roused, staggered to his feet, and stood un- 238 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO steady and bewildered on the floor. Then, seeing Mumbett, and perceiving where he was, he exclaimed : ' Where is Mary V ' There/ pointed Mr. Killigrew, with a venomous sneer, which conveyed neither reproach nor any kind of consciousness to the young man's mind but that of joy for her safety. ' Thank God, she is safe f he exclaimed. * And now I am beginning to remember how we came here : you took us in. 7 ' Well, then, if you are recovering your senses, 7 said Mr. Killigrew, ' you had better get into your sleigh, and let me drive you home, and I will come back for Mary Morrison directly. 7 Norris, still in a state of confused semi- consciousness, which left him no determina- tion of will in the matter, got into the sleigh, which was made ready by his joint efforts and those of Mumbett, while the minister contemplated, in the deepest silent FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 239 displeasure, the -till motionless and senseless Mary. As soon as the two men had driven away, Mumbett came to the bed and tried to rouse the girl from her torpor. This was not easily done; bu1 at Length animation and consciousness gradually returned, and Mary was able to rise and seat herself in the chair bythe hearth. Mumbett brought her a bow] of hot milk, which, with a slight addition of the brandy and some coarse brown bread broken into it, served to restore the giiTs strength sufficiently to enable her, with Mumbett's support, to get into the sleigh on its return, and be driven to her mothers house by the minister. There she remained, recovering very slowly and gradually, and not for several weeks en- tirely, from the effects of the terrible ex- posure she had undergone. Norris, whose exertions had served to preserve him from the worst effects of the cold during the snowstorm, recovered more quickly, and 2 4 o- FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO at the expiration of a few days he returned to Hillsborough, apparently none the worse for the adventure. Caleb Killigrew was not of those who are slow to think evil ; but he was unable to think anything evil of Mary or Norris, even under the strange circumstances in which he had found them. Mumbett's description of their condition on their arrival was too powerfully confirmed by that in which they still were in the morn- ing to admit of any real doubt of its truth ; and there were even stronger considerations that made for the absolute veracity of her statement. The rural life of New England was one of pure and rigid morality, offences against which might be said to be absolutely un- known, and a departure from which would have brought down upon either man or woman guilty of it the reprobation of the whole community. Their strict religious principles and practice, their industrious FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 241 habits, their entire abstinence from stimu- lants — either physical or intellectual — their rare recreations, the serious severity of their whole existence, and their intimate ac- quaintance with the details of each others daily life — in which everyone knew what evervone was doing, rendering all secrecv, not to say privacy, impossible among them — tended to preserve the stern morality of an almost ascetic society, and prolonged far into the present day the modes of thought and feeling of the Puritan founders of New England. The lives of the two young people sub- ject to this universal social scrutiny were known to be irreproachable, and as free from smirch of impurity as the transparent clear- ness of the morning's ice searched by the rays of the morning sun. This Killigrew never doubted for a moment, but he knew that they had passed the night alone together in the Indian's cottage, and he had seen them in what was 16 242 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO indeed all but a death-sleep, but lying side by side on her bed ; and the corrosive gnaw- ing of a burning jealousy had been awakened in him by that image, which he was never again able to banish from his mind. In the village, and in Mrs. Morrison's house, it was known that William and Mary had passed the night in Mumbett's cottage, but under what precise circumstances no one but the old woman herself and Killigrew knew ; and such a thing as refuge being sought and found in stress of weather was too frequent an incident of a Massachusetts winter to excite either curiosity or comment. A very slight exception to this general rule led, as trifling incidents so often do, to very serious consequences. A few days after the snowstorm, Mrs. Rainger, having a rough job of carpet-laying to carry through, sent for Mumbett, and employed her to help the work. The snow- storm and its various accidents and incidents not unnaturally was a thing of conversation, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 243 and Mumbett told how Mrs. Rainger's nephew, William, and his future wife had taken refuge with her. Mumbett had heard that Norris was engaged to one of the Morrison girls, but did not know which, nor, if she had known, would it have made the slightest difference in her mode of deal- ing with her storm-stricken visitors ; but it produced some little confusion in her narra- tive, and led to much more confusion in the abnormally confused head of Mrs. Rainger, who was trotting to and fro in her house, superintending the carpet-laying, and did not give at all undivided heed to Mumbett's story ; having, besides a tangled brain, a habit of never listening attentively to, or re- porting accurately, what she heard. Under these circumstances it was not strange that she had also tangled impressions. A few days after this, during one of the minister's domiciliary inquisitorial visits, which were extremely agreeable to the gossiping Mrs. Rainger, the snowstorm and its adventures 16—2 244 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO came ' upon the carpet/ not unnaturally, when she gave her version of the Indian woman's narrative : ' Wal. Might have been 'spected as my nephew would have come on and got taken in here, but my ! they just broke down right against Mumbett's, and couldn't have got an inch further, for Mary, she was just done up, and that old Indian fool kept a-calling her Susan, acause she would have it Mary was engaged to William, which you know, minister, she warn't and ain't; and then that unregenerate Indian said they turned her out into the cowshed and shut themselves into the cottage, which, to be sure, you know, minister, they never could ha' done, but I guess the old heathen idiot had taken her evening draught in the morning, and didn't rightly know what she was a-talking about ;' and with this faithful reproduction, as she did not doubt that it was, of Mumbett's story, Mrs. Rainger dis- missed the topic from the conversation and from her thoughts. So, however, did not the FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 245 minister, in whose mind it rankled, giving an additional edge to the poignant jealousy caused by the real circumstances. Hardly a month had elapsed after this conversation at Mrs. Rainger's, when Mum- bett, who was a very old woman, was found dead in her cabin. She was sitting upright in her usual dress, her usual chair, and her usual place by her hearth, on which stood her usual drink — her hot brew of herbs and brandy ; her black bead-like eyes wide open and turned to the door, and her whole appearance so perfectly that of her every- day life, that those who first saw her could not believe that the supreme change had left her so entirely and singularly unchanged. Mr. Selbourne, made aware of the event, took order for the solitary creature's burial, assigning for her grave a corner in his own enclosed piece of ground in the Greenville cemetery. CHAPTEE XVIII. A very pleasant, friendly, and animated political discussion was being carried on in the Selbournes' parlour by warm fire and bright lamplight — Dr. Moore being seated between the husband and wife, who each occupied their accustomed chimney- corner, a position he was very apt to take of an evening, to the considerable satisfaction of his friends and himself. The Presidential election now approaching was the subject in debate, and said Mrs. Selbourne : ' Well, I never could vote for that man.' 'Of course not,' said her husband, ' because I can and do. If English women had the franchise, they would all vote for FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 247 their men's men — the candidates chosen by their husbands, fathers, and brothers ; if our women could vote, they would do precisely the contrary, just to show their perfect independence of everything and everybody — human and Divine.' ' Mrs. Selbourne,' said the doctor, ' to which category do the husbands belong V ( Oh ! Divine !' said she. ' They are not humane enough to be called human.' ' Superhuman in their long-suffering, I sometimes think,' said Mr. Selbourne, with an air of resigned martyrdom. ' Miraculous !' cried his wife, with a burst of silvery laughter, which was interrupted on her lips by a sharp knock at the door, and the immediate entrance of Mr. Killigrew, who was received with courteous, but not cordial, civility, and took possession of a chair, saying : ' I hope I don't interrupt. I hope I ain't any intruding inconvenience ; ' and then went on, internally convinced he could not intrude 248 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO anywhere or inconvenience anybody : l Judge Selbourne, I have to speak to you upon a matter of moment, that I do not consider it right to postpone.' ' Will you come to my office V said the Judge. ' No, sir ; that's not necessary at all. I have nothing to keep secret, and nothing to say I am ashamed of.' Dr. Moore turned his chair round to face Parson Killigrew, as he would persist in calling him, because he knew the clergyman hated his doing so, and because he main- tained it was a reciprocal civility to address the parson by his professional title, who always addressed him by his title alone. Dr. Moore was not a friend to vivisection, but had, nevertheless, certain acute tempta- tions to practise it upon Mr. Killigrew, who was an object of extreme curiosity, as well as amusement, to him. ' I understand, Judge Selbourne, you have an intention to give a grave in your burial FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 249 lot to the heathen Indian, Mumbett, and I have just called in to say that the thing is impossible, quite impossible, from my point of view, or from any religious point of view, if you happen to entertain any such. That ground, sir, is consecrated ground, and I will not permit it to be desecrated, and the burial in it of an unbaptized, unregenerate heathen creature like that is not to be allowed — at any rate, by me. What sort of a service do you expect I could perform over such a grave as hers ? Not the prayers nor the discourse that a Christian minister ought to pronounce.' 6 I confess,' said Mr. Selbourne, ' such a difficulty had not occurred to me.' 6 Very likely not. Of course, I presume not to you.' 6 I rather think, though, I am legally en- titled to bury what I please in that parcel of ground — dead dog, cat, or even Indian woman.' * I guess not, sir ; I guess not.' 2 5 o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO ' At all events, Mr. Killigrew, I shall cer- tainly not put the matter to legal test.' 6 I suspect, Judge/ said Dr. Moore, * the poor old woman, if she could speak her mind now, would ask for a hole in the hillside, by the bones of her tribe, rather than the finest grave you could give her by the side of your family monument.' 6 No doubt she would ; and I, for one, cannot consent, nor would the whole congre- gation consent, that she should lie beside bap- tized Christian folk, of whom — sinners though we doubtless all are, and they are— it may presumably be said that they are at any rate not far from the kingdom of heaven.' ' I am so far from it myself,' said Mr, Selbourne, ' that I have no right to say who is near to it.' ' But,' said Dr. Moore, ' parson, it is the fashion of you, and your folk, to assign places considerably beforehand to your neighbours.' 6 Yes,' said the Judge, ' and you go about distributing salvation and condemnation ' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 251 ' Never, sir. I never used that mean, unscriptural word in my life.' ' No,' said the doctor ; i you can't be accused of being mealy-mouthed ; you call a spade a spade, parson. But it seems to me you really only allow poor mankind one right, and that is to ' ' Damnation. Precisely so, sir ; precisely so. What else have they a right to ? We, indeed, I should say all of us, the very best of us, what right have we to any other thing ? And as for this just-departed Indian heathen ' The doctor here interposed : " ' But whither went his soul, let those relate Who know the secrets of a future state. Divines can teach but what themselves believe, Strong proofs they have, but not demonstrative ; To live devoutly, then, is sure the best, To save one's self, and not to damn the rest : The soul of Arcite went where heathens go Who better do than we, though less they know." ' ? I have no acquaintance with the person mentioned in that piece, sir.' 252 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 6 I presume not/ said the doctor. ' Nor, I dare say, parson, none either with Burns' address to the devil V Mr. Killigrew's eyebrows put their backs up at this irreverent reference to one con- sidered by him the second (if indeed the second) power in the universe. ' I never did, sir; I have had other things to attend to, thank God ! than any suchlike profanity/ The doctor quoted : ' " Then fare ye weel, auld Nicky Ben ! Oh ! wad ye tak a thought and men' ! Ye aiblins might, I dinna ken, Yet hae a stake ! I'm wae to think on yon grim den, E'en for your sake !" Now, there appears to me a spirit of very fine charity in those lines, parson.' ' Charity, sir ! to Satan, sir ; the common adversary, going perpetually about seeking whom he may devour f Mrs. Selbourne's tender blue eyes glared, as much as glare they could, at the minister, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 253 and though a very amiable woman, she wished in her heart that he might be sought, found, and devoured ; and, taking up her work-basket, she retired, casting a parting, pathetic glance of protection over her hus- band. 6 You have given Mrs. Selbourne a fit, and I must comfort myself with a cigar for her departure,' said the doctor, suiting the action to the word, and presently speaking, like a classical divinity, out of an Olympian cloud. 6 Never mind my wife's fit,' said the Judge. ' I don't. I am truly sorry the good lady your wife, Madame Selbourne, is unappreciative of edifying Christian conver- sation.' 6 But,' resumed the Judge, ' I am glad Milton was not of Mr. Killigrew's mind.' 6 We should have lost some devilish noble lines if he had been,' quoth the doctor. ' Satan is the real hero of " Paradise Lost ;" with- 254 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO out him, it would be " Hamlet " without the Prince.' 6 Well, gentlemen/ said Killigrew, to whom these literary allusions were cer- tainly, in one sense, ' Paradise Lost, ■ I am not poetical.' ' No more than Audry,' murmured the Judge. ' And, I rejoice to say, have never known a rhyme out of the hymn-book of the Methodist Church selection.' ' But Milton is not rhyme, but blank verse,' corrected the doctor. * Well, blank ; nor any kind of verse either, except the verses of the text of the Holy Bible ; but now, to stop this unprofit- able talk of profane poetry, I put it to you, gentlemen — unlike as your opinions, unfor- tunately, I must say, are to mine — if I can pronounce a minister's benediction on that woman's grave ? I did not see her to speak one saving vrord to her before her death.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 255 ' Her death, I should think, was sudden, and unexpected by herself/ said the doctor. 6 Maybe so. Of course she was unpre- pared ; but last autumn, when she lay sick with the fever and wasn't expected to live, I went to visit her as in duty bound, and charitably tried to impress her with the horrible condition of her soul, Avith her danger of everlasting punishment, to awaken her to some saving sense of the terror of final judgment. I asked her if she was not afraid to meet her Maker. Well, would you believe it, she sat up and looked me straight in the face, and said : " No ! she was not afraid ; that if her Maker knew anything of her, He knew that she had always tried to do her duty as well as she knew how." And she lay down and turned her back to me, without a sign of saving fear.' ' Rascally old squaw f exclaimed Moore. ' And as for her soul, I shudder to think of it.' 256 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO ' " In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice/' ' muttered the Judge. ' The popular theory is for the other element. Poor old Mumbett, who thought doing right was being good ! I wish when I am near " that bourne from which no traveller re- turns ' By-the-bye, Judge/ interrupted the doctor, out of his cloud, ' don't you think it rather a mistake of Shakespeare to make Hamlet say that just after the visitation of his father's ghost ?' ' There are no mistakes in Shakespeare/ said the Judge. ' Oh no ! nor bad jokes, nor foul lan- guage, either. Now for your fanaticism/ said the doctor, retreating within his smoke. * I wish heartily,' resumed the Judge, 6 that when I am about to depart from this world, I could say as Mumbett did : "I have done my duty as well as I knew how ; I have been a good son, brother, husband, father, friend, and citizen." ' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 257 ' Filthy rags ! Filthy rags of human righteousness !' broke in the minister, in his loudest voice. i Wretched vainglorying of mere sceptical morality ! Miserable de- pendence on fatal good works ! Broken reeds, to pierce the hands that lean on them ! Satan's seductions to the unre- generate soul, to turn it from the only means of grace and of salvation ! May you have far other and better grounds for hope and confidence, sir, to save you from the terrors of a disbeliever's death !' ' Thank you,' said Judge Selbourne, rather drily ; ' I think I could be content with that, if I durst believe I had it.' 6 Well,' resumed Mr. Killigrew, ' I have but one question to ask you, sir, and it is a solemn one ; may it tend to your edifica- tion ! I do not require an answer to it ; I address it, and refer your reply to your own conscience. You have spoken of your journey to another world, and I would ask, Are you packed ?' 17 258 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 6 Packed !' echoed the Judge. ' Packed !' re-echoed the doctor. 'Yes, sir; packed, prepared, packed for that momentous journey. I was in the Southern States not long ago, on the plantation of a gentleman who had recently died, and about whose death his slaves expressed much anxiety, because, said they, their master was not packed. Every summer, coming to the north, he was wont to make great preparation — much packing ; and now, although he had told them he was departing on a long journey, he was not packed. Judge Selbourne, are you packed V Mr. Selbourne, to whom the whole con- versation was extremely irksome and dis- tasteful, now rose with a view to breaking up the conference, and said : ' You have required no answer, Mr. Killigrew, to your question, and I am glad you have not done so, for I should find it difficult to give you any ; but thanks for the FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 259 kind interest in my eternal welfare which it indicates. But in order to avoid further discussion upon these subjects between us, I think it due to both of us to inform you that my belief only includes half of yours — the better half, I most devoutly hope — but I do not believe either in hell or the devil.' ' You don't believe in the devil ? Then, sir, you don't believe in God ! They stand and fall together, sir ; they stand and fall together !' Saying which, Mr. Killigrew seized his hat and hurriedly left the house, without further ceremony of leave-taking. Judge Selbourne had preserved his serenity through the whole conversation with con- siderable difficulty ; not only on account of its own nature, but from a momentary dread that Dr. Moore — whose taste and temper were both imperfect, and whose tongue was ungovernable — would break out with some unseemly comment that would outrage the clergyman and greatly distress him, whose 17 — 2 2 6o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO principle and practice were to avoid hurting anybody's feelings. That he was justified in this apprehension was sufficiently proved by Dr. Moore, immediately on Mr. Killi- grew's departure, breaking out with the old doggerel definition of Calvinism : 6 " You shall, and you shan't, You can, and you can't You will, and you won't, You will be d if you do ; you will be d if you don't." ' ' For goodness' sake hold your tongue, doctor ! You'll give my wife a real fit this time, if she hears you.' 6 I am truly sorry the good lady your wife, Madame Selbourne, is unappreciative of edifying Christian conversation,' said the doctor, with a ludicrous imitation of the minister, and with peals of laughter. ' I wonder you are not afraid of bringing Jonathan Edwards's ghost down upon you — here, within a stone's-throw of the very house where he lived and died, and wrote his FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 261 celebrated treatise on " Metaphysical Theo- 1 No, I am not afraid of ghosts ; besides, the good fellow knows better by this time.' The Judge leant back in his chair, and, putting his ten finger-tips meditatively together, said : ' Can it be wondered at that people are not better than they are ? Is it not rather wonderful that they are not much worse than they are, with such teachers and such teaching V ' You remind me of Boccaccio's Jew.' < Of whom V 6 Boccaccio's Jew — the old Hebrew mer- chant who went from Florence to Rome, and there became a Christian ; because, he said, that religion must be the true one which subsisted under and survived the ignorance, error, absurdity, folly, vice, crime, and abominations of every sort with which the Roman Catholicism of that day was loaded in the capital of the Pope.' 262 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 6 Ah !' said the Judge, ' depend upon this : a very few very good people are worse than their belief, because it is pure Christi- anity ; the great majority are better than theirs, because it is anything but pure Christianity. But my brother, who had lived in Spain and Italy, told me that this America of ours is the priest-ridden country above all others.' ' I say, Selbourne,' said Dr. Moore, pull- ing a woollen comforter round his throat and preparing to depart, ' when you die, packed or unpacked, I mean to have your trunk. I intend to dissect your heart and brain, which strike me as being peculiar, and to publish the result of my observations for the benefit of the Medical College of Boston.' ' That is if I die first,' said the Judge, accompanying him to the door ; c but if you should meet with that little accident before I do, I shall dissect your heart and brain, which appear to me peculiar, for the benefit FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 263 of the general reading public, in an article in the Atlantic Monthly that shall make your ears tingle in your coffin.' 1 I think not/ said the doctor. ' " The right ear that is filled with dust Hears little of the false or just." Good-night, good-night !' CHAPTEE XIX. Judge Selbourne provided for the burial of Mumbett, helping himself to carry the coffin and fill the grave, where it was deposited in the old traditional burial-ground of her tribe. He had paid the Irishman, O'Flaherty, for his help — Simmons had given his and declined payment ; and when the few per- sons who had witnessed the interment had departed, Mr. Selbourne remained, with his head uncovered, by the grave for some minutes ; and one other figure lingered there — that of Mary Morrison, who, with her hand pressed to the old Indian's crucifix, recalled, not without emotion, her frequent FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 265 friendly intercourse with her, and felt as if her life had lost an interest by her death. Certain natures have a morbid affinity for suffering ; they are allied to grief, they are akin to pain, and absorb sorrow as others repel, and retain as others reject it. They may be called tragical natures, to whom life itself is essentially tragical — not, indeed, always from its incidents, but often from their own character — elements of passionate restlessness, or brooding, moody melancholy, to whom their own misfortunes are subjects of more than reasonable gloom, and those of others of more than reasonable pity — natures prone to suffering, in themselves tragical. Mary Morrison's was such a one. Morri- son's death had severely wounded both his wife and Susan, but the wound had healed, and a scar hardly sensitive to the touch had remained. Mary had received a wound from it that had never healed or scarred over, and which bled afresh whenever it was touched. Mrs. Morrison had lost a hus- 266 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO band and Susan a father, but Mary felt that she had lost a friend. An unspoken sympathy between herself and her father had begun to make itself felt by her, and she was gradually leaning towards and upon him with a silent inclination of her whole nature that was being accepted and responded to silently by him, and would have sustained her under the trials of life and the difficulties of her own temperament. His death, her first grief, was a sharp axe-stroke to the vitality of her spirit ; her feeling for Norris, against which she had struggled in vain, had been a less sharp and sudden, but more enduring and exhausting trial, affecting her in her self-esteem with a perpetual reproach of disloyalty to her sister and disgraceful weakness towards him. Her sudden revelation of her passion had humbled her to the very dust, and left her with a bitter sense of profound degrada- tion against which all her pride was power- less, and pride was the predominant element FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 267 of her disposition. Under these depressing influences her spirit collapsed gradually : the firm elastic step, that Dr. Moore had once said looked as if her feet spurned the earth under them, had given place to a languid, listless saunter, in which thev hardly seemed lifted from the ground, and the haughty demeanour, carriage and ex- pression, that had been more than once resented by her companions, were exchanged for a look of habitual sadness that was more like the weary resignation of age than the protesting resistance of youth to sorrow. She haunted the burial-ground and lingered there, no longer lying, but sitting on the flat tombstone under which her father slept, hiding slowly and tenderly the letters of his name with wild-flowers and delicate ferns and grasses, and then remaining with wide tearless eyes, gazing into vacancy and wondering if he saw her, or knew how it was faring with her, any more. The gradual sinking of her spirit affected 268 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO her manner in her own home, and though she was, in truth, not really more gentle, she appeared so from the indifferent absence of her former frequent antagonistic opposi- tion to those she lived with. Her mother rejoiced, and Susan wondered at the easier terms upon which they lived together ; and Mr. Killigrew triumphed at the victory of effectual grace — the conversion, as he called it — wrought by his holy influence over her. And now, in the diminished asperity of her demeanour, though he could not flatter him- self with any increase of cordiality in it, he thought he saw an opportunity to attempt an experiment which he had meditated ever since Mrs. Rainger had given him her ver- sion of Mumbett's account of the night of the snowstorm. The minister was very well aware of Mary's excessive pride, but he thought it less violent than it was, and yet sufficiently powerful to make an appeal to it both practicable and influential with her. A day of slight indisposition, which had kept FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 269 her from the Gordonton factory, and in which she had taken in hand some of Susan's, needlework, while the latter had gone to receive directions about the same from Mrs. Selbourne, gave him the opportunity he desired. He came and seated himself by Mary, who, merely raising her eyes and removing her seat to a slight distance from him, pursued her occupation. 6 Mary,' said he, ' I have something of much importance to say to you.' She dropped her work in her lap, and looked steadily up at him. ' Do you remember the night of the snow- storm V ' Perfectly well.' ' And where you passed it ?' ' In Mumbett's cottage.' ' And how ?' 6 On her bed.' ' And with whom ?' 6 With her.' 270 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO ' No, not with her ; she was not in the cottage during the whole night. With William Norris, alone, on Mumbett's bed.' Mary sprang up, with a gesture as if she would have struck the man. But he inter- cepted the blow, if it was intended, and caught her by the wrist. Mary felt at once the uselessness of resist- ance, and remained motionless, only saying : ' If you will let go my hand, I will stop and hear what you have to say.' ' You promise to listen V ' I promise.' ' Well, then, that night you passed as I tell you. Mumbett spent it in her cowshed, and you locked in with Norris in her cabin. I know this from herself, and saw her come out from the cowshed and unlock her cottage door, which she opened, and where you and Norris were lying asleep, side by side.' ' It's a lie !' said Mary. ' It is the truth,' said he, ' for I saw it with my own eyes.' FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 271 ' Mumbett never uttered a lie, and did not say that.' ' Mumbett is not here to say anything. What I saw, I saw, though till now I have not thought it expedient to utter it, because the way in which you really passed that night has not hitherto been known to any- one but the old woman, who is gone, and me, to whom she related it.' ' And who, you know, spoke the truth,' said Mary. i Yes, I believe she spoke the truth ; but a different notion is getting about among the folks here.' (Mr. Killigrew's imagination, though not fertile, was equal to this expan- sion of the facts.) ' It is now reported and believed that you and William Norris turned her out, and locked yourselves in the cottage.' Mary was trembling from head to foot with suppressed emotion, rage, shame, and indignation. ' But you know this was not so.' 272 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO ' I do not know it, but I believe it was not so. The one person who did know it, and whose witness, after all, would be worth- less, heathen as she was, is gone.' There was silence. Mary could not utter a word. Killigrew stopped speaking, but after a moment went on : 6 If such a story as that gets about, and is believed among our people here, your good name as a girl of character is lost for ever, and William Norris can never show his face in Greenville again. If this, as I believe, untrue account gets abroad, or even if the true account does, for nobody till now in the village has known but what Mumbett stayed all night in her house with you — if the truth itself becomes generally known, you and Norris are pretty likely to be disgraced, and your mother and Susan, who yet know no more than anybody else, to be all but killed by it. As for the other tale, which, as I say, I don't believe — but there will be many who will believe it — it will be the destruction FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 273 of Norris and you. But,' he paused, ' there is one way to avoid all this, and I have come to propose it to you : to make you my wife.' Mary started violently. The blood rushed to her temples, and she caught at the table to steady herself. ' No one will dare speak evil,' he went on, ' of the minister's wife ; no one shall dare think evil of my wife. My marrying you in the face of all the facts, since I am supposed to know them, and do know them, will be proof sufficient that I think you without reproach, and if I do, then so must everyone. These considerations, and also because it is powerfully borne in upon me that you are receiving effectual grace, and that your entire conversion will follow upon its evident blessed beginning, and will result from your becom- ing my wife, have led me to make this proposal to you. Your mother knows of this intention of mine, but does not know the grounds for it, which I have explained 18 274 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO to you, but she thinks it would be spiritually advantageous to you, which undoubtedly it might be ; but of that I leave you the judge, and leave you to think over the offer I make you in a spirit of Christian love, and true compassion for your unfortunate present position.' He rose, and was about to leave the room. ' Stop,' said Mary; and he stopped. * This can never be.' 6 Why not ?' demanded he. ' Because I would rather die first ; and because from the bottom of my heart I hate and despise you.' Mr. Killigrew departed, and an hour afterwards Susan, on her return home, found her sister fainted away on their bed. CHAPTER XX. The sort of stagnation of soul and spirit into which Mary had been gradually sink- ing for some time now gave way to the most feverish activity of thought and feel- ing. The concentrated rage with which she had received Killigrew's arrogant pro- posal kept her blood boiling whenever his odious terms recurred to her ; but the im- plied threat of disgrace and ruin to William Norris filled her with unspeakable dismay. She now knew for the first time herself the precise conditions under which she had passed the night at Mumbett's, and of which Norris was as unconscious and ignorant as she had been. She now saw 18—2 276 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO that the death of the old Indian, who alone knew the real circumstances, had removed the one absolute witness of them. She was told that a fatal false version of them was getting abroad, and that Killigrew, who did not believe it, would not, upon what he had positively seen, contradict it ; and she felt sure, on the contrary, that whatever weight of evidence he could afford would be thrown into the opposite scale. In a less, but still in some degree, the real facts affected her with an acute sense of very undeserved shame, from which she shrank internally, as from burning iron. It seemed to her that she was caught as in a net, where she turned and writhed in vain to find an exit. The most intolerable of all these combined considerations was the im- pending exposure and ruin of Norris. Her restless days and sleepless nights had now but one subject of contemplation : what to do ; how to avoid the threatened calamity ; FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 277 of whom to take counsel. Her mother ? Impossible ! Her undoubted answer would be a reference to the minister's saving pro- posal of marriage. Susan ? How could she speak upon the subject of her lover's and sister's probable, or at any rate possible, disgrace to her ? Mary's thoughts turned round and round in a fatal circle. Oh ! if dear old Mr. Edwards were still there — if her father were still alive ! She roamed men- tally to and fro in a perpetual labyrinth of dismay, without any issue or clue ; and the time w r as going on, and Norris's permanent return was drawing near. How could this vile impediment to his fulfilling his pur- pose of becoming the minister at Green- ville, and her sister's husband, be averted ? His settlement in Greenville would dis- miss from it the detested Killigrew, but she had determined it should also be pre- ceded by her own much further departure and abiding distance from it. She would go to a factory in Lowell — she would go to 278 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO service in Boston — she would do anything but remain at home after Susan s mar- riage. Yes ! But if that never was to take place ? if William never would or could return ? So, in a whirlpool of dismal speculation, her mind turned incessantly upon itself, and found no respite or relief. In this intolerable anxiety she climbed, one sultry afternoon, the East Mountain to the clear space at the top, round the char- coal heap, and looked towards the place where she had gazed at the blasted tree. As step by step she went slowly up the wood-path towards the breezy summit, chew- ing assuredly the cud of most bitter fancy, her weary spirit longed for some mossy resting-place in the deep wood, where she might lie down and forget and be forgotten. Having reached the top, she sat down to rest on a rock that pierced the turf, and gave herself up to her troubled meditations. What should she do ? What could be FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 279 done ? Perhaps William himself could advise or devise some refuge from this threatening disaster ? Perhaps he might confront Killigrew, perhaps consult Judge Selbourne, perhaps invoke the esteem, re- spect and affection with which he was re- garded by the Principal and his fellow- students of the college ? But then (and here the poor girl writhed with reluctance) he must be told the nature of the accusa- tion brought against him, and she must communicate it to him. She would write to him — speak it, she never could — and how should she even put into written words the vile calumny of which he was to be made the victim ? And if he was as uncon- scious of all the events of the night of the snowstorm as herself, what could he state to deny it ? She leaned back against the rock, and remained plunged in this cruel cogitation. Meantime, the sun was westering, and the day beginning to wane, when a man s figure 2 8o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO gradually appeared, approaching by the opposite side the summ it of the hill, and coming slowly on the turf opening. It was William Norris. He stood still a moment in surprise at seeing Mary, and still more at the utter abandonment of dejection in her attitude. He walked slowly towards her, and the soft grass rendering his steps inaudible, he stood beside her without her having perceived him. Suddenly, on look- ing up, she did so, and started from her seat, exclaiming : 6 Oh ! does thinking of people bring them up before one ? When did you come here ? Where are you come from V 6 1 only came here a moment ago,' said he. ' I have come over the mountain from the Hillsborough side, and am going down to see my mother and stay the night at Greenville.' 6 Oh ! I am thankful, thankful, glad you are come ; though I have something dread- ful to tell you — something too dreadful FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 281 for both of us. Perhaps you can help. Perhaps you can save yourself and me. God ! perhaps ' 'What is it, Mary? Tell me, tell me, what can I do V ' Oh, that bad, that wicked man, that Killigrew, says — dares to say — to say ' 6 What, what, in Heaven's name, my dear Mary ? speak ; tell me !' ' I cannot, I cannot utter it,' she gasped, covering with both her hands the burning blush that overspread her face. i Yes, I will — I will ; it is a punishment for my pride. I have deserved it all — disgrace, shame, everything ; but poor, poor Susan and you, what have you done to be dragged into this mire of degradation with me ?' As she spoke she stretched her arms out towards him, and in so doing tottered and lost her balance on the uneven ground where they stood. William instantly stretched his hand to save her from falling, and caught her ; but he caught her under 282 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO her scarf by the cord of the crucifix round her throat, and twisting his hand twice tightly in it, without knowing what he was doing, drew it with all his force to sustain the weight of her body. She uttered a throttled shriek, turned twice upon herself in spite of his utmost effort to save her by the cord which he still held, and which she twisted again in turning, and then fell heavily to the earth, striking her head violently against the rock. A terrible convulsion shook the wretched girl. She beat the ground with her feet, her outstretched hands, and her head, and then lay still — the full-bounding pulse, the warm throbbing heart, the quick imagining brain — still. All still, and for ever ! She had drawn William down on his knees beside her in her fall, and now, with trembling trepidation, he endeavoured to loosen his grasp from the fatal cord which had strangled her. The light had died from the space surrounded by the woods, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 283 and with both his hands he vainly tried to undo the knotted string. For a few seconds, and with terrible unavailing efforts, he attempted to do so ; but the Indian knot was not to be untied, and with difficulty he extricated his grasp from the deadly noose in which it was twisted. At first he thought she had fainted, and called loudly upon her ; then bending over her he called more softly, but close in her ear. He put his hand to her heart, there was no motion ; to her lips, there was no breath ; he lifted her head twice from the ground, and twice it fell to the ground again with a heavy thud. Dead — she was dead ! William re- mained motionless on his knees beside her without stirring, and without a single thought in his head, but that which his tongue muttered with an idiotic, senseless iteration, ' Dead — dead — dead !' Nothing else came to his mind or his tongue, and, but for that one idea and word, he was as senseless as she by whom he knelt. Of how 284 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO long he remained so, he was absolutely un- conscious. Meantime the moon had slowly climbed the mountain, peering cautiously between the trees as she came up ; but now she had risen above the leafy screen, and looked over it, pouring a flood of refulgent light upon the open space, the charcoal heap, the woman lying, the man kneeling there. The white splendour revealed every object in the field, and shone full on the dead face ; that fair and noble face an hour ago, now hideous in the distortion of the death-struggle ; the purple cheeks, the pro- truding eyes, the distended nostrils, the gaping mouth. William uttered a loud cry of horror, and, from the depth of the forest, was answered by the eldritch shriek of laughter of a screech owl. He staggered to his feet ; he ran wildly round the edge of the wood, and came and fell again on his knees by Mary. He covered the terrible face, the ghastly eyes, with both his hands. He turned his FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 285 head away from it, but saw them staring at him still ; he seized the scarf which clung round her, and laid it over the horrible mask of agony ; the night-wind blew it away, and he saw it again in all its hideousness. How, where to hide it for ever, even though he was still to see it for ever ? Suddenly the vacancy of his brain, possessed with but one idea, became thronged with crowding, surging images. She was dead — murdered ! he had murdered her ! She lay there alone ; he was there alone by her ; he had done it ! The daylight seemed to spring over the mountains (it was not yet midnight); voices and footsteps were heard all round him. Susan, her mother, his ow r n mother, all the dwellers in the village, rushed into the open field ; a hundred familiar forms and well-known faces pressed upon him, pointing to Mary's corpse, and yelling accusations at him. He ran to and fro, panting like a hunted animal, and looking wildly round for means of escape or self-defence. He saw 286 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO the white moonlight glistening on a sharp- pointed stake lying in the grass ; he seized it, and, with the strength of frenzy, tore down the outer circle of the charcoal heap, then the inner one too, until he had made an aperture sufficiently large to admit the body, into which he thrust it, building up again with the speed of terror the fiery heap in which he had hidden his unfortunate victim ; and hurling far from him the stake with which he had worked, and which went crashing down into the recesses of the wood, he turned and fled, pursued by unut- terable horror. The full moon, now holding the height of heaven, gave light enough by which to dis- tinguish the wood-path for one as familiar with it as he was. Its clear shining, and the wild impulse which drove him on, made him avoid, as if by instinct, the impediments of the way ; he sprang round and leapt over stones and fallen tree-trunks as he would have done in broad daylight and in the full FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 287 possession of his senses. Suddenly he became aware of a sound following him, which made him pause and listen ; it was a rapid flutter- ing ; could it be a bird ? It was not like the flying of a bird's wing. He resumed his course ; again the sound was at his heels, a flickering fluttering, like a garment waving in the wind. He stopped ; his hair rose on his head, and a sweat of terror broke out all over him. His teeth chattered, and his knees knocked together. What was it ? who was it that ran behind him, and stood beside him ? Again he fled forward, pur- sued still more loudly by the pursuing sound, and in an ecstasy of terror, having reached the middle of the plank bridge, he perceived poor Mary's scarf clinging to his arm, it having followed his flying feet through the wood. He tore it from him with an ex- clamation of horror, and flinging it away, the light fabric, caught by the wind, was carried on to the surface of the water, where, impelled by the current, it sought the sea, 288 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO down the river upon which the unfortunate girl had wished herself borne to death but a short while before. Norris reeled to his home, and, entering the house by a low garden door never fastened, fell senseless upon a seat in an empty ground-floor room. CHAPTER XXI. William Norris lay at death's door in a brain-fever for some time, and it was long before the balance turned in favour of his recovery. But youth is wonderfully per- sistent in living, and he was gradually restored to life and apparent health. One important change remained, however, conse- quent either upon his illness or the events that had preceded it — the entire loss of his memory with regard to those events. His mind was like a book out of which leaves had been torn. He remembered nothing of the whole past year of his life ; it was obliterated from his consciousness as if it had never been, and no attempt made by 19 2 9 o FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO others to awaken the recollection of any- thing or anybody during that totally-eclipsed portion of his experience availed ; he was himself, of course, unconscious of it. His violent attack of illness was attributed to several causes, all of which combined, it was asserted, sufficiently accounted for it. He had overworked his brain, and passed sleepless nights in prolonged assiduous pre- parations for an examination, previous to his taking full orders for the ministry. Anxiety for the result had overstrained his nerves. He had gone up on foot from Hillsborough in a day of excessive heat, and come down in the night exposed to the miasma of the woods and vallev when he was probably exhausted. He had caught the fever, as it was generally called, by the riverside, and his recovery, even in its unusual and partial condition, was con- sidered a singular good fortune under all the circumstances. It was not till some days after Mary's FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 291 death that her disappearance attracted notice. Her visits from Gordonton to Greenville were irregular, and seldom or ever expected beforehand, either at home or at the factory. Her absence, therefore, was attributed on either side to her remaining at one or the other place for a rather longer period than usual. Before long, however, notice was taken of, and inquiries made about it, and the precise time when she had been at home or at the factory ascertained. General curiosity was awakened, and general alarm excited. Search was made all through the valley, and up to Gordonton, and even to Hillsborough. She had spent a night with her mother and sister, and started to return to the factory the next day on foot. That she had taken the wood-path over the mountain nobody could tell. The inquiry and search after her remained, of course, without any result ; and conjecture w T as turned, after some days, in a direction which appeased, without entirely satisfying, public 19 — 2 292 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO curiosity as to her fate. The scarf worn by the poor young girl, and wafted by the w T ind upon the river when torn from his arm by Norris, was found caught in some bushes overhanging the deep thirty-feet fall of the stream at Watertown. There some eddy of the air or water had carried and left it, and there, wet with the spray, and trembling with the shock of the foaming cataract, the frail fabric hung suspended over the preci- pice, where no one doubted Mary herself had gone down, and, if not sooner, there met her doom. For a few days it remained a matter of painful speculation whether her death had been accidental or intentional on her own part. Killigrew and Susan alone knew and remembered the wish she had expressed to die in the current of the Green Water, and though the recollection brought a shudder with it, neither of them, knowing with how heavy a weight of misery her heart was then oppressed, believed that her words FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 293 meant anything more than a momentary expression of an evanescent melancholy. It was accepted by everybody that in one of her wild wanderings Mary had met with some fetal accident, and been precipitated into the river. The minister remembered his last interview with her, but, in spite of the words with which she had closed it, was by no means convinced that her rejection of him was final. He knew nothing of the feeling for Norris which had made both his threats and his offers equally odious to her, and was still able to persuade himself that, by the grace of Heaven, and his own indivi- dual graces, he should yet have succeeded in overcoming her resistance to his suit. Mr. Killigrew was not a good man, but neither was he as bad a one as poor Mary judged him. The pious fraud, as he con- sidered it, which he had used to influence her, would probably not have been further resorted to by him, however much he might have been tempted to bear false witness 294 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO against his neighbour, by telling merely what he had seen, and withholding all expression of his conviction as to the entire blamelessness of Norris and Mary. In Mrs. Rainger's fertile imagination, the snowstorm and the night following had already given place to a dozen subjects of exciting village gossip ; and there was all but a certainty that, if she reverted to Mumbett's story, she would now give not only a different, but a diametri- cally opposite one. But Mary's death, and Norris's all but mortal illness, had had their effect even upon Caleb Killigrew's mind and feelings. Ignorant of her love for William, he was able to regard the latter with com- passion, and though now anxious himself to leave Greenville, and, therefore, for the young man's entire recovery, he visited him with frequent assiduity, and ministered to the prolonged weakness of his protracted convalescence, with as much kindliness as he was capable of. He had fulfilled his mission in Greenville to his own entire satis- FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 295 faction. He had not been a dumb dog ; he had spared neither admonition, exhortation, denunciation, threat nor warning ; he had wrestled, struggled, striven with the souls he had saved, to the best of his belief, by violent orthodox shaking up ; he had put as many of them as possible in a state of spiritual discomfort ; he had awakened them from the pernicious theological slumber in which he had found them, and had preached to them the doctrine of pure Calvinism in all its bitterness. After Mary's death and the cessation of his own personal interest in the place, he became desirous to leave Green- ville for a wider and more important sphere of action at Watertown, whether he had received a call upon the reputation of his 6 powerful ' preaching. He remained, how- ever, till William Norris was pronounced not only out of any danger of relapse, but perfectly well, and able to assume the duties of his ministry. The evening" talk at Mr. Selbourne's not 296 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO unnaturally canvassed all these events for some time after their occurrence ; and sit- ting as usual in their shape of a friendly bow, of which the trio formed the arc, and the hearth and chimney the cord, Mrs. Sel- bourne asked Dr. Moore if he had ever known any similar case to that of William Norris. 6 Do you mean his partial loss of memory ? Yes ; I have known in the course of my practice two such cases — that is to say, of obliterated recollection ; but not occasioned like his, by nervous strain and brain-fever, but in one of them, a patient of my own, by a knock on the head.' ' Did you give it her?' inquired the Judge. ' No ; I never knock my patients on the head until it is better for them that I should do so. She was a woman of about thirty years old, and got her blow by falling from her horse on her wronof end. She never re- covered her memory, but, in spite of that, FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 297 was an extremely clever woman, and talked delightfully, and wrote charming letters without it.' ' Do you think the causes assigned for Norris's brain-fever account for it V ' I think they may very well do so, for, as to brain-fever or even insanity, it's always difficult to assign precise causes ; they are so various. A young fellow that I knew went mad on seeing the woman he was in love with jump overboard out of the ship in which they were coming from India to England ; she was drowned, and he remained insane for some time. He recovered his senses, however, but became epileptic and died soon after. But it does not take such a tragedy as that to drive people out of their senses. Two young men of my acquaint- ance went into madhouses from dyspepsia — chronic indigestion ; the one recovered, the other did not.' ' Do you think William Norris will re- cover his memory ?' 298 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 6 Really, Mrs. Selbourne, the medicine-men of the Red Indians are conjurers, I believe, but I am not.' ' Certainly not,' said the Judge, i my dear doctor ; nobody accused you of it ; but do you think there is any chance of Norris ever getting back the broken bit of his mind that has fallen out of it V ' I think it just possible that the cause of the mischief having probably been nervous, some powerful nervous shock might jog his memory back into its grooves.' 6 Why should he recover any more ? He does well enough without it ; and now that that odious Killigrew, with his loud voice and loud doctrine, is gone, perhaps the people will become reasonable again.' ' It is hardly desirable,' said the Judge, 6 that they should become what you, my dear unreasonable wife, call reasonable.' ' They could hardly do it,' said the doctor ; ■ for centuries and generations past they have held and transmitted their present FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 299 notions, and been trained up in them, as these people have been. Very few indi- viduals are mentally and morally strong enough to change their opinions without injury.' ' Do you think/ Mrs. Selbourne asked, ' the majority of the Greenville people would be damaged by it V 6 Oh no !' said the doctor ; ' the majority of them would probably become Catholics.' i That w r ould not be so bad,' said Mrs. Selbourne. 1 Perhaps not,' said the Judge ; ' though it might not be a case of going back to jump the better, but only of jumping for- wards to go back the more. The truth is that most people, when they stray out of sight of the parish steeple, get so frightened that they run back as hard as they can to the narrowest and darkest corner of the church. People had better live and die in the creed they were born and brought up in — the poorest form of Christianity 3oo FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO will be a saving faith to any man who lives by it.' ' Norris's preaching and praying and read- ing/ said Mrs. Selbourne, ' are so like that good grandfather s of his, that, I declare, it's almost like having dear Mr. Edwards back again.' ' Not almost — quite,' said the doctor. 6 Not quite, after all. Mr. Edwards was an old man when he died, and Norris is but fi ve-and-twenty . ' ' No ; but he is not a young man any longer — he is an old one for the rest of his life ; and, you have said very truly, he is mentally and morally, though not physically, what his grandfather was a few years before he died. The whole nervous system has received such a shock that it is enfeebled in tone ; it is not the memory alone. If your guitar has one string run down, you screw it up ; but here every cord of the instru- ment is relaxed from over-screwing, and the tension has been so severe that they will FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 301 never be able to be wound up again to a healthy pitch, or return a vigorous sound/ I I suppose he will marry Susan Morrison now ?' ' There is no reason why he should not, as soon as she is out of mourning for Mary. Poor Mary ! she was a fine crea- ture/ said the doctor, speaking from a pro- fessional as well as unprofessional point of view. ' I always liked that sweet Susan best,' said Mrs. Selbourne. ' Of course,' said the Judge ; l because birds of a feather, etc' 'Mary had something masterful about her.' ' Perhaps,' said the Judge ; ' she might not have made a comfortable wife !' I I think she might have made an un- comfortable husband/ said the doctor ; * though, after all, I believe henpecked husbands are the happiest.' ' I could have told you so from personal experience.' 3 o2 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 6 . Not of both kinds/ said Mrs. Selbourne, holding up a terribly threatening small fore- finger. ' Well/ said the doctor, ' I was afraid to try.' ' Not/ said Mrs. Selbourne, i because you were afraid of being henpecked, but because you never found the woman who could have henpecked you effectually.' 6 Mrs. Selbourne,' said Dr. Moore, ' I have enjoyed as much of that privilege from your friendship as the Judge could well have spared, or as I could have hoped for, from a closer connection with the harder sex.' It pleased the doctor so to designate that half of the human species generally known as the ' softer.' ' I should not call them the harder- — but only the unfair sex,' added the Judge, with meditative impartiality. CHAPTER XXII. Susan Morrison and William Norris married ; and a year after a child was born to them, a daughter, christened after the dead Mary. The child was like the woman as soon as her infant features could exhibit likeness to anyone, and when she was but two years old recalled in a wonderful manner the serious expression of an older face ; and as time went on, it was so peculiar that few persons who saw her failed to be struck with it ; for, in truth, the strongest resemblance stamped upon the child's countenance was to the Divine spiritual beauty of the Infant held in the arms of the great San Sisto Madonna, the miracle of Raphael's pencil. 3 o 4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO One change occasionally came over the little girl's remarkable countenance. Though almost always grave, she seldom cried, still seldom er did she laugh ; but when she smiled her whole face beamed with the sweetness of her mother's sweet smile, and became for a moment human in its tender mirthfulness. To her father she bore no likeness ; but in spite of this smiling re- semblance to her mother, her loving prefer- ence for him manifested itself in the strongest manner from her very babyhood. Even at her mother's breast, when Susan was living that blessed year of nursing her child (alone sufficient in its exquisite happi- ness to atone for the misery of the most miserable marriage, to atone for every earthly sorrow but the sorrow that is born of sin), the little creature would turn its eyes from the mother, gazing in ineffable tender- ness down upon it, to the voice, or even the footstep, of its father ; and the first articu- late word it uttered was ' Darlin',' learned FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 305 from Susan, and stammered out to him. As soon as she could crawl she travelled on hands and knees, or sitting, sidled over the floor with all possible speed towards the door which admitted him. The first con- secutive speech she achieved was gathered from the lips of the mother, bending in loving watchfulness over her cot : ' Hush hush, my darling ! sleep ;' which, with tiny hands pressed on her father's eyelids, closed in ' make believe ' slumber, she addressed to her mother : ' Huss, huss, my darlin' is seep.' The child was called by both her parents Blossom ; the sad name of Mary was never addressed to her by them ; and in the village she was universally known as ' the Baby,' as if there never had been, was, or would be any other. As soon as she began to take her walks abroad, in her wicker carriage, or on her own very independent little trotting feet, she was watched by all the elders, waylaid and caught up by all the 20 306 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO young girls, followed by the children, who clustered round her like bees round a flower, escorted courteously beyond their own doors by the dogs, for a pat or a pull of her soft caressing hands, and purred and mewed round and rubbed against by all the cats who met her. She was worshipped like an idol, and served and obeyed like a queen — better than any queen, for it was all for love. Her chief idolater, servant and very slave was flame-haired Elsie O'Flaherty ; who now, a strapping ten-year old girl, having left off pig and poultry hunting, dedicated herself with absolute devotion to ' the Baby/ School-hours once over, her one delight and occupation was attendance on the little child, over whom she watched with the precocious, premature care of a perfect Irish nurse ; she walked beside her, Blossom holding her finger ; she carried her, Blossom clutching her fiery locks ; she drew her carriage wherever she chose to go ; she tarried by it whenever she wished to stay, and provided FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 307 her with a perpetual store of wild-flowers, or brilliant coloured leaves — the only objects, beside her father, which the child ever ad- dressed as ' My darlin .' The fellowship of these two was perfect ; Elsie discoorsing un- weariedly in the choicest Irish, and Blossom jargoning replies which she understood, if the other did not. Four years went by of singular peaceful prosperity ; suffering, sorrow, and sin were certainly to be found in the bounds of Green- ville, but in the very smallest proportions possible, within such bounds. The young pastor and his wife lived a holy and a happy life. They were good ; the people they lived amongst were good ; an atmosphere of goodness seldom met with seemed to envelop the village and its inhabitants. The temper of the material world was unusually har- monious ; the seasons were kindly and genial ; the summer and winter not extreme in heat or cold, the spring and autumn delightful in soft balminess and fruitful plenty ; the 20—2 308 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO crops were abundant and fine, the days and nights serene and beautiful, for a succession of four years, long remembered as the * fine four years ' in the ' happy valley.' On the Fourth of July, at the end of that period, the annual celebration was to be held by the school-children, the national holiday feast and rejoicing, on the top of the East Mountain, where, escorted by the master and mistress, they were to have their picnic festival, re- turning at evening to the village. So their day was spent ; and towards its close they were seen and heard marching down in triumphal floral procession. Like to a moving garden, down they came — a mimic Birnam wood of branches, blossoms, wreaths, garlands, and whole sheaves of flowers. Rhododendrons, azaleas, kalmias in rosy bunches ; stars of snow-white dog- wood, silver censers of locust, lilac spires of catalpa, and the splendid varnished leaves and golden flowers of the tulip-tree — the whole spoil of the flowery fields and woods of the American summer. FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 309 Down they came, a waft of fragrance ac- companying them, singing in shrill sweet unison a cheerful child-hymn, of which their two guardians led the melody. At their head marched flame-haired Elsie 0' Fla- herty ; she looked like an angel in an Italian cinque-cento picture, her red locks encircled with a wreath of chalk-white dogwood, hold- ing in her hand some small object, which she was vigorously divesting of rust and dirt — an iron crucifix. As the procession came along the village street, Blossom, sitting on the ground by her father, who was reading in the piazza of his house, ran to meet it ; her friend Elsie, leading the troop, stopped to kiss ' the Baby,' who, seeing what she held, took hold of it, crying ' Give.' Elsie had no refusal for the child, but rather un- willingly gave up her prize, and the flowery host marched on to the school-house to dis- band. William Norris had looked after his child, who now trotted back to him, and laid in the hand he held out to her the iron crucifix. 3 io FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO He stared fixedly at it for a moment, and then, closing it in his hand, with a sudden cry fell senseless from his chair. Susan was at his side. Dr. Moore came instantly. Norris was carried insensible to bed, where he remained motionless and speechless, in spite of blood-letting and every effort Dr. Moore employed to restore consciousness. In this condition he remained all night. Towards morning Susan was sent to her child in an adjoining room by the doctor, expecting no change in the state of his patient ; but, in dismissing her to her child, he had called the latter Mary, and, turning from the door to the bed, saw William sitting up awake and wide-eyed, who said to him : ' Mary was not drowned. I killed her on the East Mountain.' Dr. Moore was struck with extreme sur- prise, and thought his patient had awakened only to a paroxysm of delirium. He found, however, no symptom of fever or excite- FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 311 ment ; the pulse was low, the forehead cool. He bade him lie still, and not exhaust him- self with speaking. ' Judge Selbourne,' said Norris. ' I will send for him,' replied the doctor ; and a hurried pencil line, ' Come over here as soon as you can,' presently brought Mr. Selbourne to the room. William Norris then desired to be raised and propped against his pillows, while Dr. Moore still held his pulse. He again said : i Mary was not drowned. I killed her/ He then, in few, but perfectly coherent words, related the incident as it had hap- pened, ending with : ' I strangled her acci- dentally with a cord she wore round her neck tied to a crucifix, and buried her in the charcoal heap.' 6 This ?' said Dr. Moore, producing it from his pocket, where he had placed it after extracting it from William's hand, which was tightly closed over it when he fell senseless. 312 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO ' That/ said he, looking with dying eyes at it. ' 0, Christ, why didst Thou not save her V He fell back. ' It is over/ said Dr. Moore. ' Is he dead V asked Mr. Selbourne. The doctor nodded. Mr. Selbourne closed the eyelids, and Dr. Moore left the room. After some minutes he returned, sup- porting Susan and carrying her child. The wife uttered a cry of piercing anguish, and fell on her knees beside the bed. Dr. Moore laid the baby on the pillow, where, creeping close to her father, she laid her living, flower-bright face against his marble- cold and white dead cheek, and, with her rosy hand pressed on his eyes, said softly : 4 Huss, huss ! my darlin is seep.' The two men placed Susan in her mothers arms, and, promising to return, left the house. As they crossed the street they were accosted by Elsie O'Flaherty, who said to the Judge : * Sir, I gave " the Baby " yesterday an FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 313 image I found in the ashes of the old East Mountain charcoal pit — a black cross with a man hanging to it.' ' This V said the doctor, who had retained it. 1 Yes, sir. Mother says it is the cross of the holy Jesus, and that I shouldn't have given it away.' The doctor was about to surrender it. ' Stop,' said Mr. Selbourne, ' I wish to keep it ; give it to me. Tell your mother, Elsie, that I shall take great care of it, and will get her another like it the first time I go to Boston.' The friends walked on in silence. 1 Do you believe what Norris said V presently asked the Judge. ' Every word of it,' replied the doctor. ' Was he not insane, delirious ?' ' No more than you or I at this instant.' ' Then he had recovered his memory ?' ' For the moment he had.' 6 What did he die of?' 3 i4 FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO 1 The nervous shock, and I should think heart disease, which made it fatal.' 1 So, then, you think the poor fellow's story true ?' 1 How did that crucifix come in the ashes of the East Mountain charcoal heap ?' answered Dr. Moore. So the story of poor Mary's death was known, though never told by those who knew it ; that of her life remained a secret. Mrs. Morrison returned with Susan and her child to Manchester. After her mother's death, Susan married a wealthy Lancashire millowner, and in the decent comfort and respectable monotony of English middle- class life only remembered the events of her existence in Greenville as the half-effaced images of a half-forgotten dream of ' Far Away and Long Ago.' THE END. BILLING & SONS, PRINTERS, GUILDFORD. G.sC.& Co. ' ■-' ^sP^ - PS . Ml •' " — "*" ^V 'dp«^r v ..-..--- i !. - « SK k* t^X ^£~r^ \ ' '' ;•;. . , S V > \'^ ^ '